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22nd February 2023 - Continue to be wary of Loft Insulation Scams

Continue to be wary of Loft Insulation Scams

Many people are looking for ways to improve the energy efficiency of their homes, given current energy prices. Unfortunately, rogue installers are taking advantage of this situation. Making doorstep and cold calls and pressuring people into agreeing to work which is overpriced and unsuitable for their property. 

These scams involve unscrupulous salespeople selling overpriced and unnecessary insulation products to vulnerable homeowners.  

Homeowners are being told that the insulation they currently have in their property is either likely to cause damage (such as mould and damp) or is soon to become illegal. They are then persuaded that they should opt for an alternative ‘spray-in’ insulation which is being sold at massively overinflated prices.  

The scam takes various forms, such as the introduction of ventilation systems (costing around £4,500, five times what they’re worth) and repeat scams on homeowners who already have spray foam insulation installed but are now being told it is increasing the moisture levels in their loft space.   

Often these companies usually find potential victims using databases of people aged 70 and over and lists of properties that have already had spray foam insulation installed. They then send commission-based salespeople round (under the guise of expert surveyors) to pressure homeowners into signing contracts for unnecessary and expensive work. This work is often carried out within days to avoid homeowners changing their minds.  

How to tell if an offer is a scam? 

  • It seems too good to be true. If something seems either much cheaper than it should be or it can be done in record time, it could be a scam. 
  • Someone you don’t know contacts you unexpectedly with an offer. 
  • You expect you’re not dealing with the real company- for example, they give you a leaflet but there is no postal or registered address. 
  • You’ve been asked to transfer money quickly.  
  • You’ve been asked to pay in an unusual way, for example through a transfer service like MoneyGram or Western Union, or by cash only.  
  • There is no written confirmation of what’s been agreed. 

What can I do to avoid being scammed? 

  • Only let someone in if you’re expecting them or they’re a trusted friend, family member or professional. Don’t feel embarrassed about turning someone away.  
  • Don’t feel pressured to make decisions on the spot. It’s always best to talk things through with someone you trust before signing any agreements. Ask the visitor to leave some written or printed information for you to consider. Don’t give away your telephone number, instead say you’d prefer to take theirs. This way you retain the power to follow up on the opportunity without risking pushy follow-up calls. 
  • If someone calls you on the phone to sell you something (known as cold calling), you always have the right to hang up. If they talk over you or make you feel intimidated, don’t be afraid to end the call. It’s easy to feel rude for hanging up on someone, but remember they don’t have the right to make you feel uncomfortable in the first place.  
  • Register with the Telephone Preference Service – it’s free and it allows you to opt out of any unsolicited live telesales calls. This will reduce the number of cold calls you receive, but may not block determined scammers. 
  • Talk to your phone provider to see what other privacy services and call-blocking services* are available, although you may need to pay for some of these services. 
  • If you do enter into a contract in your home, by law you should be provided with written notice of a 14 day cooling off period by the salesperson. During this 14 day period you have the right to change your mind without incurring any costs. This is a serious issue- failure to provide you with this written notice may constitute a criminal offence.  

If you’re concerned that you may been the victim of a scam or feel unsure about the credibility of a salesperson’s claims, you can report directly on 01635 519930 or email tsadvice@westberks.gov.uk

*In some cases PPP may be able to install these for free. Please contact our trading standards team for more information on call-blockers.

Bracknell Forest
West Berkshire