The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) has recently reported on a rise in energy scams related to the cost-of-living crisis. Faisal Hussain, Chief Executive of the Double Glazing & Conservatory Ombudsman Scheme (DGCOS) warns that consumers must be on their guard and discusses ways in which they can protect themselves.
The cost-of-living crisis has seen an up-surge in the number of consumers being targeted by scammers, according to a recent report by the CTSI. Consumers who are worried about energy costs and paying their bills this winter are more vulnerable to unscrupulous groups who are preying on people who need help. Consumers are aware that some grants and rebates are available and are falling victim to scammers who are capitalising on this. They are being approached by individuals who claim to be representatives of organisations who will help claim the money by asking homeowners to part with personal and banking information. In addition, not all suppliers of home improvement products can be trusted. In particular, the CTSI is concerned about an increase in scam energy rebate text messages, door-step selling and loan sharks preying on the most vulnerable.
At DGCOS, we obviously take this information extremely seriously and are worried by what the CTSI is reporting. Higher bills for energy and food are going to be part of our lives for the foreseeable future and we urge consumers to only speak to trusted suppliers and companies in order to protect their savings and reduce unnecessary stress. If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Robust consumer protection
At DGCOS we offer consumer protection for anyone buying from one of our members and our services have never been more important for homeowners. What we are currently hearing from the CTSI could potentially be just the start of an increase in scammers’ activity and we would urge any consumer making improvements to their homes to use our accredited installers. Consumers entering into a contract with one of our accredited installers, can receive deposit and stage payment protection, insurance backed guarantee, a consumer advice line and, if needed, a dispute resolution service and access to an ombudsman.
Now more than ever, it is more important that consumers have confidence in what they are buying to ensure that they are making sound investments. Knowing you can trust your suppliers is vital. At DGCOS we have accredited installers of windows, doors, conservatories and orangeries. Whatever a homeowner is planning in terms of improvements or upgrades, we strongly urge them to find trusted suppliers via DGCOS for peace of mind.
Keep your wits about you!
In addition to the benefits that DGCOS offers, we would urge consumers to be wary of uninvited phone calls, text messages, emails and people trying to sell on the doorstep. We would always recommend homeowners only deal with their energy suppliers or home improvement suppliers via their official phone numbers and websites, but any suspicious emails or text messages can be reported to 7726 or [email protected]
DGCOS has one driving motivation, and that is to offer consumers the highest levels of protection. Using one of our vetted and accredited installers is just the first step in knowing they are protected if something should go wrong. It costs nothing for this peace of mind, but it could be worth a lot.