The Government has issued a stiff warning to any Green Deal participants found to be acting fraudulently following reports that cold callers are posing as Green Deal Assessors and charging administration fees.
"I want to be completely clear, cowboys will not be tolerated in any part of the Green Deal," Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said today, after the BBC reported that trading standards officers in Yorkshire and South Wales were investigating more than two dozen complaints about fake discounts being offered by cold callers if householders signed up the same day and paid a fee.
The Green Deal launched in January and aims to cut energy bills and carbon emissions from buildings by making energy efficiency easy and affordable for homes and businesses. Under the scheme householders can take out credit and the repayments are set so they do not exceed the savings on energy achieved by the improvements on a typical house.
Kim Keohane, senior trading standards officer in Caerphilly, south-east Wales, told the BBC that conmen were using the scheme to get people to hand over "up to £400".
There are strict guidelines governing the scheme, but cold calling and door-to-door sales are permitted under the Green Deal.
A DECC spokesperson said the department did not have figures on how many complaints had been received about the scheme and added that these had to be made to the Green Deal Oversight and Registration Body.
DECC is advising householders approached by companies offering Green Deal services to check for the Green Deal Quality Mark – the initiative’s stamp of approval intended to protect the consumer.
"There are a number of steps that we can take [if Green Deal participants are accused of acting fraudulently] and this includes legal action by Trading Standards or revoking authorisation to act as a Green Deal participant," added Barker.
Green Deal Assessments
The news of complaints comes on the same day as new figures from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) show the total number of assessments lodged under the Green Deal had reached 18,816 by the end of April – almost double the number lodged in March. But the Government will not be issuing official figures on Green Deal Plans – agreements to fund upgrades – until the end of June.