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Staffordshire Moorlands Advice Partnership warns scammers cashing-in on Green Deal

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: May 03, 2014

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LEEK and Cheadle Citizens' Advice Bureaus are is working in partnership with Age UK North Staffordshire, Support Staffordshire and Your Moorlands to warn residents about scammers offering fake energy efficiency deals.

More than half of people caught out by these scams are contacted out of the blue, either over the phone or by door to door sales, and offered thousands of pounds worth of home improvements for free.

The advice comes ahead of Scams Awareness Month which launches on Thursday, May 1.

As part of the month long campaign Staffordshire Moorlands Advice Partnership will be raising awareness of scams and advising residents how to seek advice if they have been a victim.

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The Green Deal is a national scheme which allows residents to get energy efficiency improvements to their property without having to pay up front.

However, problems reported to Citizens' Advice shows people are losing up to £500 after paying a fee for an assessment that never goes ahead or, if it does, the company then does not get in touch to do the work.

In some cases people are asked to provide their bank details for the assessment fee to be refunded, only to find more money is taken from their account without their permission.

Under the actual Green Deal people may be asked to pay an assessment fee, but any costs should be explained and a Green Deal Advice Report provided after the assessment.

Thérèse Davall, Project Co-ordinator, said: "Scammers are preying on people looking to cut the cost of heating and lighting their home.

"Some people have lost hundreds of pounds by paying for a Green Deal which turned out to be a scam.

"Through Scams Awareness Month we will be warning people that scammers operate online, over the phone, via post and by knocking on your front door.

"We will be urging people to report scams to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040."

The Green Deal allows you to get energy efficiency improvements made to your property without having to pay up front.

If you agree to the plan you have the option of taking out a loan with the provider to pay for the work to be carried out and then repay it through your electricity bill.

Some households may be able to get free measures under the Energy Company Obligation.

You should not be asked to pay for an initial assessment to receive free measures. For more information see gov.uk/energy-company-obligation

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