/ Home & Energy

Have you been cold called by a ‘Green Deal’ scam?

Green Deal

It’s no wonder a scheme that helps you buy a new boiler or insulation for your home should be popular. But some of you have suffered Green Deal scammers and cold callers, and we’d like to hear your stories.

More than half a million homes have been assessed on whether they’re suitable or the Government-backed Green Deal, new figures show.

And more than 13,000 have the Green Deal finance to pay for what they want to do.

Green Deal scams to watch out for

But sadly, it’s not been good news for everyone. Some people of you have paid out to get your home assessed then never heard from the company again – losing hundreds of pounds. Others of you lost cash when genuine Green Deal firms collapsed.

And like in other areas, you’ve been getting nuisance calls from cold callers. One fed-up member said he’d been ‘inundated with telephone calls from recorded messages insisting that I’m entitled to a ‘Government-funded new boiler’.

‘On several occasions I have spoken to an ‘adviser’ who insists that the deal costs nothing but agrees it’s not a grant. The adviser also insists that it is not a loan even though the cost is repaid from savings made on future energy bills.

What is the Green Deal?

You can take out Green Deal finance if you want to get wall or loft insulation, double glazing, a new boiler or solar panels for your home. But it’s a loan and you have to pay it back through savings made on your electricity bills. And this isn’t guaranteed.

All Green Deal assessors should be authorised with the Green Deal Quality Mark and follow a code of practice.

Have you taken out a Green Deal? How pleased with the result were you? Have you been cold called about it?


Why bother with Green Deal, its fees, loan charges and contractor restrictions? Why not just arrange your own finance, find your own most competitive installer, avoid fees and you’ll still make savings on your gas and electricity bills to help pay for it if you do your basic research properly.

Advice normally is loft installation is very worthwhile, cavity wall insulation will save but a danger of damp walls, double glazing is not cost effective (but you may want it for other reasons, including noise reduction and comfort) and a condensing boiler is likely to cost you more in repairs than you’ll save, so some advise hanging on to your old fashioned boiler until you have to replace it. And lights – I’d say go for CFLs where you can or you may end up spending a fortune on LEDs that fail early and kill your radio signal.

Just my thoughts – I’m sure some will think otherwise!

malcolm r, What you’ve said is basically good common sense. Ellie Simmonds says “It’s no wonder a scheme that helps you buy a new boiler or insulation for your home should be popular” well Ellie it’s actually not very popular. Green Deal take up has been a fraction of that envisaged by those who thought up the scheme, basically because it’s not a good scheme at all.

As a domestic energy assessor who has been looking closely at this scheme since it started I’ve concluded it’s a terrible scheme. I decided not to qualify as a Green deal assessor. I decided not to have anything to do with it.

An upfront Green Deal assessment costing about £100 often to tell you something you clearly already know, you’re supplier options are restricted to those who are Green Deal approved and who will charge much higher prices. A loan attached to the property paid back with a levy on your electricity bill and which will include something like 7% interest. Doesn’t sound like a good deal to me. Would you be keen on buying a property where you have to carry on paying for a boiler someone else had installed?

It can get even worse, if you are a tenant you’ll be paying to upgrade your Landlords property and you’ll save nothing or very little on your energy bills, but the landlord gets a free boiler installed in his property.

If you are on low income there is ECO “Energy Company Obligation” where upgrades can be installed free, nothing wrong with that, although I still think in the case of a rented property the landlord should be also obliged to contribute rather than everyone paying an energy bill.

For most of us though my advice is have nothing to do with the Green Deal, arrange your own finance, use a much cheaper local gas safe plumber for that new boiler and save yourself a small fortune.

Ellie talks about the danger of “Green Deal scammers”.???
I’m sure there are some but It’s the Green Deal that is the biggest scam Ellie.
Do a bit more research and consider alternative ways to get yourself upgraded and come back to us.

I must admit that when I read in the Intro that half a million homes had been assessed but that only 13,000 had entered into a Green Deal finance scheme I thought it showed the deal was not all it’s cracked up to be. Even allowing for the fact that many of the homes assessed might have been judged ineligible, and that many householders might have had the assessment but made their own financial arrangements as Malcolm recommends, that’s a pretty poor testimony for a potentially valuable way of improving energy efficiency and conservation in this country. Chris mentions the implications of selling a house which has outstanding financial commitments under the Green Deal and I think that is a worrying factor for many people that puts them off.

@malcolm r, Excellent post. Well said.

I have been a victim of the “Green deal” scam, by the name of TIVIUM. I am one of hundreds of people to have been bamboozled into paying £299 for a “survey” following a visit from an assessor never to have received either a survey nor a refund, despite various letters, telephone calls, false promises etc. They have moved their offices and changed their name several times, they never answer their phone and their letters are simply a standard one regretting that I could not have a refund, after promising that I could. Several people have taken the company to court and they have several CCJs as a result. None of the charges have been repaid. I, like many others, have lost their money and there would seem to be nowhere else to go. Even the Fraud Office seem to be unable to enforce repayment. I would be interested to hear of other readers’ experience.

Hi Jonah,
Did you ever get any success with to attemp to get the £299 back from Tivium?

Mr mirren says:
28 July 2015

I have had my house done by greendeal,new boiler,lift insulation,cavity wall insulation and still get bombarded with calls.surely their database must know who has had all supplied.

I’m a bit late to this convo – but twice I have taken a call that has been a recorded message – which says that they have checked the national database and my home has not had a green deal assessment (it has!). It then says that all homes have to have a GDA by the end of 2017. (which is garbage). When I pressed 2 and spoke to a real person – when I asked the name of the company the girl hung up. The 1471 gave the following number 0039 141 9870123 which I have failed to trace other than wonder if it came from italy (unlikely). I worry for unsuspecting people who might be conned. Glad I am totally au fait with the whole renewables and green deal issue!

not “green deal” but this week we’ve had 2 calls from gents pushing energy saving measures. both put my wife on guard when they called by greeting her with her name and me with mine when she handed the phone over. both callers also knew we’d taken energy saving measures before – which made me wonder where they’d got the info’ – contractors ? government ? first saying he was “your local energy consultant” told me our glass fibre loft insulation was no longer recommended and should be replaced under a government scheme whereupon I hung up.
second caller, later same day, tried to persuade me I should get one of these “earth pump” devices which “work like a fridge”. I told him to send me the details by post and hung up.

George says:
21 July 2016

I’ve started to receive the ‘your fibre glass insulation is no longer compliant’ calls as well. Company called itself EverGreen but hid its phone number. I’m sure it’s a scam.

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George - pensioner says:
7 November 2016

“The Government Awareness Centre”(G A C)
I received an unsolicited telephone call today from Chris at the Government Awareness Centre who knew my name , address, and PV Feed in Tariff ( FIT) details . He offered a free check on the FIT installation to see if there were any”loose wires” etc. He wanted to visit at 6.00 pm today .
When we pointed out that it would be dark at 6.00pm so the PV installation on the roof would not be visible, this did not seem to worry him and he said ” Monica” would call back later to arrange the visit .
Sure enough Monica called and referred to the Green deal , government funding and reeled off a host acronyms but she hung up abruptly when I tried to establish who they were , where she had obtained my details, what number she was calling from and upon what authority they were acting.
Monica seemed to have forgotten my previous conversation an hour earlier as a second call from Monica followed a similar vein and again ended in her again hanging up .
This was probably the most pressurised and aggressive sales call and the most worrying I have received this year as they have my address.

The G A C do not respect the Telephone preference service,
I have informed the FIT meter service provider, the Telephone Preference Service and the local police .

If someone does visit us at home this evening , the police have kindly offered to come round and introduce themselves!.

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George – There is no Government Awareness Centre. It is a con. Unfortunately the scammers have now got confirmation that you live where they thought you did and answer the phone where you live. I expect they are hoping to divert your feed-in credits in some way – best check with your energy company a.s.a.p. that your account has not been accessed.

Alternatively it could be an attempt at distraction burglary – someone goes up in the loft and keeps you talking while you watch, meanwhile someone else goes round your house looking for things to steal. Good job you told the police. Don’t let anyone in your house.

They’re still cold calling. I had a telephone call at 20 .31 on Friday 24th March ’17, stating that £200M of grants were available for “A” Rated double glazing….blah blah, press 5 for more information. Pressed 5 and I was contacted at 10.15 on Monday 27th March. The female caller had a Scottish accent and asked if I was Mr C. (the name of the previous landline holder 9 years ago). I asked her for the name of the company she stated “The Green Deal”. I then asked where the company was based and she hung up. Both calls were from a withheld number.

R Stone says:
21 August 2017

Almost precisely the same experience as Mr Rowe – I have been plagued by recorded anouncement calls telling me that I am eligible for Green Deal funding for replacement windows for YEARS! Always the same recording, always a withheld number – and 2 or 3 times a week! I work from home so I have to answer the phone and this drives me mad!!!

A few days ago I decided that hanging up didn’t work, dialling 9 to “be removed from the list” didn’t work so I dialled 5 – thinking I might find out who they were! Moments ago I received a call from Scott of “green Deal Funding”…. A strong Scots accent but completely unwilling to give me any further details about the company, the legal name, address – as soon as i suggested that i would be foolish to provide any details to a person who would not identify themselves properly I got “i am terminating the call now” and off he went.

I am seriously considering getting them to come and survey my, Grade 2 listed” home just to waste their time…

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I am being constantly cold-called by Green Deal who cannot be traced so cannot be reported. I’m at my wit’s end, not knowing how to deal with these scammers. Can anyone help?

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I too am getting numerous Green Deal Boiler Replacement recorded messages from a withheld number. I’m registered with the TPS. There appears no way to track the callers down to get the calls to stop. Does anyone know any better?

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One of the joys of having an answer machine on your phone I do not have an answer machine and do not answer calls from unknown numbers so do not appear get unwanted calls .Sometimes I wish I did (not really though )

Sam says:
4 April 2018

I have been receiving calls from “The Green Deal Funding Company” for months…. usually from 07513 139241 and always from people with strong Scottish accents. Josh… Scott… Gary…Kelly… they ALL say they will remove me from their call lists but never do. It’s such a pain in the neck. I have reported many times to TPS and ICO but still the calls keep coming – sometimes five or six in a day!

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Traci says:
15 August 2018

I have also been receiving these calls. They are called Green Deal Funding and are at 2 West Regent Street Glasgow G2 1RW. I have blocked all the numbers from this so called company, but they regenerate new numbers all the time. I have contacted CAB which reports them to Trading Standards. I have contacted ICO, which states that I should be on TPS, I did use TPS a few years ago, to which most companies ignore the law and stil call. Since my new telephone number change. I only have this one company call me. They are also using telephone numbers that don’t exist 015627392 which is a 10 digit phone number, who the person had a scottish accent. More must be done to stop this scamming. How are the scammers more ahead than the government bodies?

Christine Allan says:
5 June 2018

The number that called me is 07645 354 3768. Why doesn’t TPS work?

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It does work, Christine, but only with firms that obey the law. If it didn’t work you would be getting dozens or scores of nuisance calls and cold calls every day around the clock.

It would be interesting to see confirmation of the ownership of the DMA, duncan. Perhaps they would tell us whether they are under USA control as you suggest. They provide a useful function but if they misuse the role granted to them by Ofcom then Which? should tell us.

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Despite searching thoroughly I have never found any links between the UK Telephone Preference Service and any American organisation, other than perhaps sharing a name – which many transatlantic organisations do. It is not really a “quango”, just a trade body funded by the direct marketing industry with authority from Ofcom but no powers of enforcement [which lie with the Information Commissioner’s Office]. The ICO can, of course, act on reports of non compliance from the TPS, the DMA, or anyone else. Companies that operate legitimately would have a vested interest in shutting down offenders against the direct marketing rules so I cannot understand any suggestion that the DMA would want to go soft on contraventions; that really would be self-inflicted harm. “Telemarketers” is just a collective noun for companies or people who engage in direct marketing by telephone and similar technology. Like most organisations that rely on gathering personal data, the TPS is an attractive target for leakers and hackers and it is not outside the bounds of possibility that the names and numbers of people on the TPS register have been captured and sold to companies who have less respect for the law. I believe some time ago a Which? investigation found that people registered with TPS were more likely to receive nuisance calls than others. It seems that things might have improved over the last year or two as there have been far fewer complaints on this site than previously.

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Having done a quick search it’s curious and tantalisingly oblique. It would seem that the DMA – now the Data Marketing Association – is based in Canada and has merged with the Association of National Advertisers, an organisation currently preventing EU citizens from access. Fire up the VPN and we see that the ANA is US-based, and that means both the DMA and ANA are now essentially the same corporate structure and based in N America.

If we follow that to its logical conclusion, then since the TPS is funded by the DMA it seems Duncan’s concerns might be rooted in reality.

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It’s far from a clear picture, however. DMA and DMA UK are apparently different entities, but DMA Global, which appears to be under the purview of DMA UK, further muddies the waters.

It’s so muddled you could be forgiven for thinking they’re trying to hide something.

I agree that the picture is not only oblique but also both opaque and obscure – deliberately so in my opinion; this is not especially surprising for the over-arching representative of the notoriously shifty marketing industry. There are apparently 27 DMA’s around the globe and they have formed Global DMA to act collectively for the national DMA’s. Whether the UK DMA is a stand-alone organisation operating only in the UK and governed entirely and exclusively by its own board and trustees is far from clear – but I have found no evidence otherwise.

I could find no reference to the UK DMA having changed its name to the Data Marketing Association, but on the other hand the DMA is so coy about its identity that in no place does it reveal the words behind the initials. It appears to be run by a trust and is funded by the ‘marketing industry’ which is a convenient catch-all for a wide range of practitioners in persuading people to part with money for things by direct marketing – personal contact in other words. As part of the government’s pact with the . . . ; no, as part of its understanding and agreement with the industry to keep the long arm and heavy hand of the law away from the gentle flesh of the marketers, the government has authorised the DMA to apply a degree of self-regulation in the form of preference services for (a) contact by mail and (b) contact by telephone, for both of which people have to register. This takes a workload off the ICO and Ofcom but I would bet it all works in the industry’s favour overall. Sure, there have been cases where companies have been fined for breaches of the law but not as many as would be expected from the number of consumer complaints in past years. As I said previously, the problem seems to have abated lately, probably because the PPI compensation opportunity is reaching the end of the road. I think it is arguable that self-regulation has generally been quite effective and that the industry is reasonably clean. So why does it need to hide behind a veil?

It occurs to me that the DMA that has merged with the Association of National Advertisers [an American trade organisation for the advertising industry] is the Canadian DMA only and does not incorporate the UK DMA or the other national DMA’s. Nevertheless there are several affinities at various levels that all conspire to make the diffuse image hard to resolve. Whether this all makes a scrap of difference to how the TPS operates and how UK consumers can stop unwanted and nuisance calls is doubtful. Whether a government-run scheme would be any better is also doubtful to my mind, especially if it were outsourced to certain companies who dabble in all sorts of public services from a base point of little experience. Legitimate marketing organisations have a direct interest in knocking out the rogues yet it seems to me that the industry has pulled its punches and not been as forceful as it should have been. I wonder if Which? is a member of the DMA . . .

What a beautiful phrase:

this is not especially surprising for the over-arching representative of the notoriously shifty marketing industry..

Sharon Mitchell says:
4 July 2018

These people have called me 15 or so times in the last month, and each time I have told them to remove my number form their database. Their number is blocked when I dial 1471, but the caller almost always has a Scottish accent. One of their male operators was extremely rude to me, the dozen or so females have been apologetic, and yet the calls continue.

I am already on the Telephone Preference Scheme. These pains need to be stopped.

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Chris says:
29 August 2018

I’m getting the same issue. I have had 32 calls from them in 3 days. I managed to speak to a woman and she said the company was Green Deal Funding based in Glasgow. She called me a liar when I asked if she thought it was acceptable to keep calling, claiming they hadn’t called that many times. She then put the phone down. BT said I can use Caller Protect even without a number. It’s free to use and you can call or sign up online. I’m hoping this may help, but I’m not convinced.

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Chris says:
2 September 2018

Thanks For the article link Duncan. I had ‘unknown number’ on my caller display, but that may be my phone doing that. I’ve tried the BT Caller Protect and funny enough it shows all of the calls, all with too long numbers (and they don’t exist when you phone them). I have blacklisted each number (took ages) so this may stop the calls or at least slow them. Have only had 1 since I posted above, but the BT record shows it has blacklisted 156 calls. I almost fell off my feet when I saw that.

I’m hopeful now that these will stop, but if not, I’ll unplug the phone or buy a big bat and track them down. That last comment is not the view of Which, but mine 😃

Avoid at all cost says:
4 October 2020

Harassed by smart stone energy claiming free insulation then I was put through a terrible 2 hours sales pitch by a smelly grey hard cocky b*****d called gary trying to charge me £66 per m2.

Just had a call on our landline from 01237736300 claiming to be a Help to Buy Boiler scheme. They asked me if I was the homeowner to which I informed them that my wife is. Completely ignored that and cracked on with the sales pitch anyway, claiming that they have info that tells them our boiler is over 10 years old. It was up until a year ago so this could be a legit claim, but when I corrected him he just said “bye” and hung up. Not very good customer service if you’re trying to sell something genuine??

My advice would be NEVER sign up for anything like this no matter how genuine they sound. If it’s something you feel you need, do a ton of research and go to some reputable sources who can provide advice on lots of different ways to fund a new boiler.

Neil says:
17 August 2021

I keep getting called from an automated caller who announces himself as Chris , you local energy adviser (or similar). i decided to follow the call though to see what happened. Once I confirmed that I had “old style” insulation and was over 85 (not true) he said thank you and hung up. I am expecting a live call. I did not give any personal information. I had my loft insulated years ago under a scheme where I only had to pay the first £300. it was not a scam but the company did a poor job then went bust. I wonder if that is where they got my number from.

There is a guy called ‘Chris’ who seems to have spent the last 18 months cold calling people around the country to tell them he is a local firm that give a free survey to check their loft insulation doesn’t suffer from damp. After finding out I was under 50 he hung up on me. I have had in excess of 15 silent calls from the same Bournemouth block of numbers that Chris contacted from. My parents in law fell for this scam last year and paid thousands for unnecessary insulation work to be done on their house. Very depressing.

Barbara Spencer says:
21 January 2022

Yes, I have had numerous calls over several months, one just now, from a man calling himself “Chris”. When I ask questions, it’s obvious he has no idea where my house is and today he asked my age “because an older person might benefit from grants”. I also asked him who carries out the inspections – no reply. And to my question about costs might ensure – no answer. I declined to give my age and then put the phone down.