/ Home & Energy

Have you been mis-sold green home improvements?

Drawing of a home with energy efficiency ratings

With the temperature set to dip from unseasonable highs earlier this week to more typical teeth-chattering January temperatures, the Office of Fair Trading’s report into the energy efficiency industry is timely.

If you want to keep your home warm and cut down on your energy bills, insulating your property is the obvious place to start. From simple measures like loft insulation, to more costly and complex things like a new boiler or upgraded heating systems, the payback can be significant both financially and in terms of comfort.

I was therefore worried to see that the OFT’s report, published today, found instances of poor practice. It highlights the use of high-pressure sales techniques, unclear information about paperwork and cancellation rights, and poor quality installations. These will be familiar to anyone who has read our investigations into cavity wall insulation or double glazing sales – research that the OFT drew on in their own report.

Energy efficient spotlight on the Green Deal

The spotlight is about to be shone all the more brightly on the energy efficiency sector later this month, with the launch of the Green Deal. This report will make further uncomfortable reading for the government, who have placed a great deal of faith in the scheme being a ‘game changer’ in this area.

The OFT’s report shows that there is real potential for problems, since people rarely go through the process of improving their homes’ energy efficiency. The OFT also said that the measures that people install are often complicated. This heightens the opportunity for mis-selling – something that we have long been concerned about with the Green Deal due to its novelty and complexity.

It’s essential that the government keeps a close eye on the Green Deal. They have committed to take enforcement action if any providers break the rules – and we’ll be carrying out our own mystery shopping exercises to make sure they keep their word. In the meantime, we have put together a Green Deal checklist for anyone thinking of having an assessment.

Given the OFT’s findings, clearly the guidance and advice in place for energy efficiency installers and salespeople at the moment is not sufficient. Further action is needed. I’m also pleased to see that the OFT will be opening an investigation into the energy efficiency sector. We will work closely with the OFT and the government in the coming months.

Have you had any good or bad experiences with energy efficiency traders? Are you thinking about taking a Green Deal loan?

Comments
Dorothy says:
6 June 2015

I wish I had never heard the name of Tivium. Friends advised me to cancel, following my payment of £299, which I did within the 7 day cancellation period. Tivium have informed me by letter and by email that I am due a refund. However in spite of me contacting them many times, I have now been waiting since the 5th.March 2014. – i.e. 16 MONTHS for my refund.I have lost all hope that they will do the honest thing and pay me.I

Arthur Eaton says:
11 June 2015

I paid out £299 last Sept. for two surveys on my house the first one they lost. The second one I received but have heard nothing since. I phoned Tivium and received a message telling me to e mai them as their customer service phone line has closed. £299 for a useless report. Money at 75 years of age I can ill afford to lose.

Mb says:
26 June 2015

If you have a report, you can use that to get the funding by going to an actual green deal provider.

Rolfe says:
12 June 2015

A search at Companies House reveals that Tivium Limited was compulsorily wound up on 27.04.15, and the Official Receiver Cardiff is the liquidator. I’m arguing though that I paid my money not to Tivium Limited but to Green Earth Marketing, who are the ones who should refund. GEM is not a limited company but a trading name, so the individuals behind it are personally responsible. The problem is in finding out who those jndividuals are. Anyone know?

Chris says:
12 June 2015

I am a victim of this company too – I didn’t realise so many others were also. I paid my 299.00 last August 2014 got my assessment done quickly in September and I have been waiting since. I have an engineer out twice and in April 2015 actually had a call saying I was 2 weeks away from installation ! several emails later I am still none the wiser. no one answers the phone anymore. I am going to call the fraud number that’s been mentioned above but don’t hold out any hope now of either my boiler getting installed or a refund.
I hope the people responsible die a slow painful death (and I am not a violent person)

Jean says:
22 June 2015

They got me around the same time Chris, not heard a thing in mths, not even from the fraud division, dont think I will ever see that money again…or the solar panels we wanted so much, I really would like half an hour in a room on my own with the guy who set up this company and a very very big baseball bat….just to let him know what I think of him….and I’m not a violent person but would do in this person in for myself and the hundreds if not thousands of people they have ripped off, just goes to show what a travesty this country really is. Its all about companies and there ability to get rich quick!!!!!

Caroline says:
23 June 2015

My parents got done over by these scum bags 16 months ago, they are 82 and 87! They paid their £299 for the boiler. Hence to say after many phone calls and excuses nothing has happened and we now realise it was a scam. After reading all the comments on here I now realise there is no chance of getting their money refunded. How they are not behind bars I will never know?’

Mb says:
26 June 2015

The Matthews family set up green earth marketing, trying to get away from the name trivium!
They were operating from the same address. Same management, same staff!

Has anybody heard anymore about the Matthews family, as their company Tivium went into liquidation in April 2015 and now Tivium Limited will not pay back all the people it has ripped off. Nothing seems to have happened with the Fraud Office have prosecuted them. All has gone quiet.

Anne

Somebody please reply, I have suddenly realized Tivium are still in business ,however, I’ve had NO reply since July 2014 when I paid Emma Whiteside £299 for an assessment that was not covered. How can these fraudsters still be allowed to trade?

I also have a problem with a 50 year old boiler system not fit for purpose that nobody wants to help with and I’m told even though I’ve had three assessments on same funds are now closed.
at 83 I’d like to say thanks for nothing Mr Cameron.——-Barbara

Ronald Unsworth says:
9 November 2015

Has anyone else had a letter from McAllister &Co who have been appointed liquidator regarding Tivium Limited. I will admit that I don’t understand all of the documents that you have to download. If we go ahead with the request from McAllister and Co are we likely to get our money back?

Noreen says:
15 November 2015

I have had one also had trouble on line phoned them and they sent me the forms

Can you keep us updated on anything that happens with McAllister and co please. Had given up on this but will gladly pursue these guys if you have any success

I have been writing to Tivium after I had paid them two years ago by cheque, no work was done or undertaken, unable to transfer work to another green deal provider as they had not processed any of my application. I have now been chasing them for 12 months to no response. Sent emails, Letters and even phoned. As I paid by cheque, what are the realistic chances of a refund?

Hi there Christopher, there’s some useful information on pursuing a claim of this kind on our Consumer Rights site including how to proceed when you don’t recieve a response to your complaint http://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/problem/my-building-work-hasnt-been-completed-to-a-quality-standard

carolegowing says:
13 January 2016

i was scammed over a year ago and no i have not had any work or money returned. i paid them cash but i am now having difficulty switching electricity supplyers as some of them are saying as i am in “the green deal plan ” they cant take me on ???
any one know where i go from here.