Cold caller warning for homeowners
RESIDENTS across Dumbarton, Alexandria and Clydebank are being warned to not fall for cold callers passing themselves off as council employees.
A series of residents have complained about canvassers their doors and trying to flog them insulation.
The tricksters are telling homeowners they are in the area in behalf of West Dunbartonshire Council (WDC).
WDC, in partnership with the Scottish Government's Universal Home Insulation Scheme (UHIS) can help residents make big savings on their fuel bills by installing cavity wall and loft insulation in suitable properties free of charge.
Private firms can "sign-up" householders and pass their details on, for a fee, to installation companies who are paid by the Scottish Government.
However, WDC works with Carillion on the scheme, its workers carry identification and the council is urging residents to check the id of callers.
Trading Standards has now issued the warning after receiving a number of calls from worried residents.
Nicky Johnston, Trading Standards officer said: "We are aware of canvassers operating in the area following the introduction of the UHIS scheme.
We have received complaints that some canvassers have falsely claimed that they come from or are approved by the council.
"Additionally, there are reports that, after people have agreed to the free service, they are given a "hard-sell" to buy additional services, such as more insulation."
Whilst many organisations work within the guidelines and are perfectly entitled to operate in this market and approach consumers, Trading Standards say that recent complaints of canvassers claiming they are from and approved by council are completely untrue.
If you are are in any doubt, the council will rearrange another suitable time to visit, which would allow the resident to have a family member or friend present.
Councillor Kath Ryall, convenor of Corporate Services is keen to see local residents getting full benefit from the scheme.
She said: "The UHIS scheme presents a genuine opportunity for residents to make their homes warmer and more energy-efficient.
"There are substantial savings to be made on fuel bills and that is something we all welcome.
"The council, and its partner, Carillion, are directly approaching a number of residents and they can be confident that we will ensure that those households which require the insulation will get it free of charge and through the correct procedure".
Housing Energy Advice Officer, Gary Clark added: "We are contacting householders throughout the area offering this excellent, free service and arranging for the work to be carried out. Whether a property is suitable will depend on a number of factors and I would encourage residents to contact the Energy Saving Scotland Advice Centre 0800 512 012 to arrange a survey and find out if you can have additional insulation measures installed to your property."
Residents can call the Council's Housing Energy Advice Officer on 01389 608334 for further information.
They can also contact Citizens' Advice Consumer Services on 08454 04 05 06 or email email@example.com for further information and advice.
This article appeared in Dumbarton & Vale of Leven Reporter 11 Jun 12
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