Watch Out for the Latest Home Improvement Scam

Property owners are being warned to be on their guard amid a rise in the number of green home improvement scams across the country.

Many local authorities and also Propertymark, the trade body for estate agents, have warned that people are being duped by rogue traders exploiting anxiety about high energy prices and confusion over green grants.

What to look out for

Often, a cold caller will ring or knock, offering exterior wall and roof coating products with the promise that they will cure damp problems and dramatically cut energy costs.

In reality, the ‘improvements’ guarantee no such thing and, in some cases, exacerbate damp issues, which are costly to rectify.

The work carried out may also be sub-standard, and the rogue trader may demand extra payments for work that wasn’t agreed upon.

The dodgy operator may also falsely claim to be working with the local council and that homeowners can later recoup costs through a green grant scheme.

Not everyone’s a bad guy

To be clear, there are many reliable and trustworthy tradespeople out there carrying out energy-efficient home improvements. 

And in recent years, the government has announced several green grant schemes to decarbonise homes.

But you need to ensure the person looking for your business can deliver on their claims.

Do your homework and never take an operator’s claims at face value – no matter how slick or confident they are.

These rogue traders are brazen. For example, six fraudsters, jailed at Nottingham Crown Court last year for fraudulently selling wall and roof coatings, made £10 million and ripped off 62 people before getting caught. 

Be on your guard – tips to stay safe

  • Be wary of when someone contacts you out of the blue offering a ‘today only’ special deal.
  • Never commit to work on the spot. If someone is pressuring you, alarm bells should ring. Take a cooling off period to ask family or building experts for advice about whether improvements are necessary and will add value to your home.
  • Check a company’s online presence and read reviews to determine its legitimacy. 
  • If someone claims to work for the council, call the local authority yourself to verify the claim.
  • Get written quotes from three different tradespeople before going ahead with improvements. 
  • Insist on a comprehensive list detailing the work to be done at your home. 
  • Never pay for all the work upfront. Pay in agreed stages and, if possible, use a credit card (this offers the best protection).
  • If in doubt, trust your instincts.

From all of us here at Cleeve Residential, stay safe, and thanks for reading.