Consumers must be protected from Green Deal mis-selling

As the coalition launches its flagship energy efficiency scheme, Which? urges the Government to keep its promise to protect the consumer from dodgy sales practices.

The Government’s Green Deal scheme, billed by the Coalition as a revolution in the energy efficiency of British properties, is launched on Monday, 1st October. From Monday, consumers will be able to start getting their homes assessed for the Green Deal and from January householders will be able to take out Green Deal finance to pay for measures like insulation, double glazing, a new boiler or even solar panels.

The Government has promised high levels of consumer protection however, given the risk of mis-selling and dodgy sales techniques in this sector, Which? will be watching closely to check the consumer is getting the best value and not being ripped off.

We have published an online advice guide to give householders practical tips on what to look out for during these home energy assessments.

Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd, said:

“We know that energy prices are one of consumers’ top financial concerns so we support helping people save money and making their home more energy efficient. However, the Government must live up to its promise to protect the consumers from mis-selling and dodgy sales techniques.

“We will be watching closely to see if people get ripped off. Any poor practice must be stamped out as quickly as possible.”

As well as the high levels of consumer protection promised by the Government, Which? wants to see:

  • Clear and comparable Green Deal quotes: It should be easy for consumers to compare quotes for different Green Deal loans and other finance options on the market. Which? wants clear information for consumers that outlines at every stage the different costs and savings, including the cost of finance so that consumers can compare the Green Deal with other forms of credit.
  • More of the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) allocated to the poorest: The Energy Company Obligation will subsidise Green Deal loans. At the moment, only around 40% of the ECO is guaranteed to be allocated to the fuel poor, the rest will largely be used to subsidise expensive solid wall insulation to support the Green Deal. Which? would also like to see greater investment in low cost measures like loft and cavity wall insulation that will have a big impact on reducing people’s energy use and bills.
  • No harsh penalties for early repayment of Green Deals: The Government is planning to amend regulations which will mean people taking out Green Deal loans of 15 years or more could have to pay a hefty penalty if they want to pay off their loan early. Which? wants to see the existing protections offered under law applied to the Green Deal, just as they would any other form of consumer credit.

Notes for editors:

1. Which? has published an online practical advice guide for householders applying for a Green Deal assessment.

Our online guide includes:

  • A home energy assessment checklist
  • A Green Deal jargon buster
  • A list of measures included in the Green Deal
  • An explanation of the home energy assessment process

2. The Government has promised a ‘one year on’ review of the Green Deal to take place from end-2013 to mid-2014.

3. The Government is due to publish its proposals on early repayment penalties shortly.

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