Warning to Bristol residents over home energy improvement scammers

June 11 2020
Warning to Bristol residents over home energy improvement scammers

BRISTOL City council is warning residents to beware of rogue traders pretending to be council workers.

The council says the scammers are offering energy efficient home improvements, claiming that they can help to secure funding for loft insulation and other measures.

The council’s trading standards team has received an increase in reports of individuals pretending to be working on behalf of the council, some using old council paperwork to make themselves look authentic.

Cabinet councillor Steve Pearce said: “It is very concerning to hear of people operating fraudulently within our communities in this way, especially during our current difficult circumstances where many are feeling vulnerable.

Thankfully, all residents who have reported incidents so far have refused these offers, but we need to make sure others do not fall victim to this kind of scam. We must be very clear that council officers would never cold call residents or pressure households with hard-sell tactics in the way these individuals have.

If you require genuine energy efficient improvements to your home, the council’s energy service can directly provide a range of energy saving measures, offering financial support and advice on the most cost-effective options for your home.”

The council said that in one incident, traders tried to pressure a resident to sign out-of-date Bristol City Council paperwork to start work on their home.

Trading Standards team leader Sarah Davey said: “Cold callers who are imitating council officers and making false claims like these are acting unlawfully, and we will take all necessary action against them.

If you are not sure who is at your door, do not open it or let them in. Check the identity of the caller by asking to see some identification and, if they refuse, do not let them in.

If you do happen to need work or repairs done, seek quotes from a reliable tradesperson, and take your time to choose. A reputable trader will have no issue with you doing this.”

Cold callers, scammers or rogue traders can be reported to the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133.

Anyone who feels threatened or believes they are in immediate danger should call the police on 999.

The council has details of its genuine energy-saving offers on its Energy Service website.