A report published by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has highlighted that people looking to buy ‘green home’ heating technologies – such as solar panels and heat pumps – can face difficulties and are not always treated fairly by businesses.
To meet the UK government’s target for net zero by 2050, more people will need to fit their homes with insulation and low carbon heating products. This can be environmentally friendly and can reduce energy bills if done right.
We’ve found some really useful information and top tips for residents for when you’re considering and looking to buy green heating and insulation products, courtesy of the Competition and Markets Authority…
Before you buy
1.Be clear on what you need
Green heating and insulation products have different features and some work better in certain types of property. Think about your home, your needs and total budget.
2. Do your research
It’s important to do some research to help choose the right product for you. You can find independent information and advice from your local Council, government websites and consumer advice bodies. Look at different sources so you can fact-check and compare products. Businesses can also provide information – remember to look into any claims they make and ask questions.
When you’re ready to buy
3. Find the right installer business
4. Understand the price and any other costs
Shop around and get a few quotes – at least three is best. Make sure you know what is included in the price. It’s also important that you understand any ongoing costs associated with the product like running costs, servicing or maintenance.
5. Check if you can get financial support
You may be eligible for government funding to help cover the cost of your product. Check government websites to see if you are eligible and what you need to do to secure support.
6. Get it in writing
A trustworthy business should provide documentation about the products/services you are buying, most importantly a written contract. Remember to read a contract before signing and to ask questions if you are unsure about it. Don’t be pressured into signing until you are happy you have got the information you need.
7. Be clear on the installation process
Installation can be disruptive – the business should explain the process, how long it will take and who is responsible if there are problems. Think about whether you need to tell your insurance or mortgage provider about the installation and if you need to apply for planning permission.
8. Knowing how to use the product
The business should clearly explain how to use the product and monitor its performance. You should also receive instruction manuals and troubleshooting advice.
Before the business leaves the property after the installation, they should also explain any warranties and/or guarantees you are given and anything you need to do to validate and maintain them.
If something goes wrong
9. Making a complaint
It is best to write to the business you used to raise a complaint and get them to resolve the issue. If you are not satisfied with their response and you used an accredited business, you can then contact the certification scheme (eg MCS or TrustMark) to escalate your complaint.
Remember – you’re protected by the law at every stage.
10. Know your consumer rights
You have important legal rights and protections to be treated fairly by businesses. For example, a business must act with reasonable care and skill when installing a product. You also have certain cancellation rights depending on the circumstances in which you agreed a contract – for example, if you sign a contract in your home you can cancel for any reason, from signing to 14 days after the product is delivered to you.
For further information and a deeper dive for consumers on Green Home Heating, please visit the Competition and Markets Authority webpage.