/ Home & Energy, Technology

Are nuisance callers branching out to the Green Deal?

A phone bursting through the background

Our Calling Time on Nuisance Calls and Texts campaign reached another milestone today, with the ICO issuing two fines to companies making nuisance calls to people registered with the TPS.

Both companies were featured on BBC Three’s series The Call Centre, which follows staff at the third-largest call centre in Wales. The penalties were issued in response to 2,700 complaints made to the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) or to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) between May 2011 and December 2012.

One of the companies that received a fine, We Claim You Gain, is a claims management company. As part of our Calling Time campaign, we’ve called for tougher enforcement action around these types of calls – so it’s great to see the ICO htting the companies who flout the rules with hefty fines.

The next big thing in nuisance calls

Interestingly, the other company that was fined today was Nationwide Energy Services which, according to its website, is an accredited Green Deal supplier. Quite coincidentally, a colleague told me she’d recently received a call from a difference company who called themselves the ‘Personal Injury Trust’, asking her if she’d be interested in a Green Deal assessment.

It got me to thinking – how many of these claims companies are starting to seek leads about potential Green Deal customers? The Green Deal is the government’s flagship programme aimed at increasing the energy efficiency of homes. With trust in energy companies and the energy sector more generally already critically low, the last thing the Green Deal needs is these kind of calls building up around it.

Warning lights are flashing

PPI and personal injury claims are currently the most lucrative areas for claims management companies right now. In fact, our research found that 62% of all nuisance calls refer to PPI claims. So hearing about a new type of nuisance call relating to the Green Deal certainly caught my attention.

This fine from the ICO is a good step. But as part of our campaign Calling Time on nuisance calls and texts, we want the government and telecoms providers to step in with new laws and technology to help tackle the problem.

Have you received any nuisance calls about the Green Deal? Have you noticed any other themes in the nuisance calls you’re getting?


Oh you can be sure that cold calling to promote the Green Deal is coming.
It will be just like the old loft and cavity wall cold calling of recent times, except this will be worse because whereas the old loft and cavity wall deal was minimal cost or even free for real energy bill saving benefit the Green deal is a seriously flawed initiative by comparison.

The Green Deal is a loan arrangement (after an upfront £100 or £150 assessment fee) with interest which although (but not guaranteed) might not increase your energy bills won’t provide any real benefits in the form of lower energy bills until the loan is repaid. That might be two or three years for loft or cavity wall but it might be ten years or more down the line for more involved improvements like boilers etc. And you’ll probably pay inflated prices to cover an over complex scheme and have stumped up plenty of interest cash along the way, money that could have stayed with you had you taken a different approach.

My advice is improve your home energy efficiency, really good idea, but don’t do it through the Green Deal until the scheme has had major improvements made to it.

No need to take my word for it read up on the Green Deal and decide for yourself.
Better to be well informed than to get sucked in during a cold call and find the expensive pitfalls later.

One thing is for sure, Green Deal cold calls will be coming to a phone near you soon, and I’m not too sure the TPS system will make any difference.

Whilst signing up on line to the Which? campaign I was interrupted by a phone call.
The usual: “I am xxxx from Accident UK. How are you today?”
I asked him to repeat who he was. He did with “how are you today?” again.
I said “I am sorry we don’t accept unsolicited calls on this line”.
he said: “I will come to your house then and see you face to face”.
Well, I know that it was meaningless, but an less confident, or elderly person could have felt very threatened.
It is a disgrace that people can get away with this sort of “marketing”.At least I am ex-directory. How do those who are not cope? I should let them go to answerphone – but forget!

i always get as much info about who the person is then say i will talk to you in person tomorow then see what they say

It would help if caller ID instead of saying “international” provided the country code. This way I could then program my phone to ring a different tone for the countries I want to pick up (i.e. from my family)

I had my first nuisance call about the green deal earlier this week. The approach was masquerading behind a survey on wall insulation. It was very unintelligent contact, putatively based on postcode targetting. Any serious researcher would have figured out that all properties in our postcode have been built in the last few years and have insulation standards that are almost unimprovable without demolishing the house and starting all over again.

ronald bell says:
6 September 2013

If i am home when the phone rings, i let it go to the answer which kicks in after the 6th ring,if i recognise the voice to be family or friends i will answer the phone, if it is a cold caller they don’t leave a message

sharon says:
25 September 2014

I get 4 recorded message calls every single day wanting me to take up this scheme….no company name given…just press 2 to speak to an advisor ..so I did…they said the company name was green deal…in aldershot…no company tel number and no supervisor available…number is withheld so I cant block it and am starting to feel harrased and persecuted!..I dont want solar panels, debt and I have a new boiler….when I asked for customer service they put me on permanent hold until I hung up!…feel completely helpless to do anything about it.

Despite being registered with TPS for donkeys years, I’m being pestered practically every day by recorded messages for the Green Deal (and before that it was PPI). Unfortunately the CLI is usually suppressed or No Name appears so I can’t complain about specific callers to the Information Commissioners Office. This leads me to conclude that legislation is needed:
a) to make calling TPS-registered numbers a finable offence (otherwise non-reputable companies will simply ignore it)
and b) to ban cold-calling organizations from withholding their numbers.

There will only ever be one solution to stop these calls. Give each home phone user the option to key in a code ( like we can with 1471) immediately after we have received one of these calls that blocks that number from ever calling you again at the exchange.
This will also mean that withheld numbers can be blocked as well.
Put the control back into the bill payers hands!