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Eco Retro-fitting Homes - call for consumer protections

A coalition of organisations representing consumers, financial institutions and energy suppliers has written to the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero urging a complete review of consumer protections for those carrying out green upgrades to their home. 

In February, the Competition and Markets Authority strongly recommended that the government take a more active role in improving the quality of protections afforded to consumers. 

The organisations - including the Nationwide, Which? and Citizens Advice - have identified gaps in protections for home owners and landlords as they improve the energy efficiency of their properties.


These are:

- A confusing landscape of overlapping codes and schemes making it difficult for consumers to have their complaints addressed in a straightforward or timely fashion;

- Inconsistent levels of financial protections in the sector which can leave consumers out of pocket if something goes wrong and their installer has ceased to trade; and 

- A lack of quality assurance and redress for consumers in the ‘able-to-pay’ sector leaving some consumers without any protection at all.

The organisations say: “We are concerned that unless Government takes action to address these gaps, sub-standard consumer protections could undermine the net zero transition. Poor quality installations, especially those that impact the ability for a consumer to heat their home, can cause significant detriment to a household's finances and physical health.

“As well as this, there is the potential for the bad experiences of early adopters to undermine wider trust in an emerging market. The importance of this cannot be overstated - our research shows that friends and family are the second most common source of advice for households who are considering installing low carbon technologies in their homes. Making the protections framework more robust can stamp out rogue traders from the sector and deliver greater benefits to consumers. 

“Ensuring a more consistent level of protection can also help to unlock greater levels of private finance for home retrofit. Currently, the limited cover afforded by some protections leaves lenders significantly at risk if work is carried out to a poor standard, with some lenders reluctant to enter this market as a result.” 


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