Helping Sunderland homeowners see off rogue traders

Keeping Sunderland homeowners safe: Warm Up North representatives visiting local communities will always be in uniform and carrying their official ID badges.
Keeping Sunderland homeowners safe: Warm Up North representatives visiting local communities will always be in uniform and carrying their official ID badges.
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A LANDMARK energy scheme is aiming to help homeowners protect themselves from rogue traders.

Warm Up North wants to make people living in the North East aware of unscrupulous door knockers hoping to take advantage of vulnerable residents and cash in on the Government’s Green Deal scheme.

The advice follows a warning from Citizens Advice that people across the UK are being contacted through unsolicited telephone calls or door-to-door rogue tradesmen.

Head of Warm Up North, Ian Weatherston, said the company, which is backed by nine North East local authorities, wants to help people identify such unscrupulous visitors.

“Warm Up North is designed to tackle fuel poverty and there is genuine help available to people who are struggling to keep their home warm,” he said.

“We are keen to raise awareness of the support available and Warm Up North representatives regularly visit communities across the North East wearing a Warm Up North uniform and carrying their official ID badges.

“Warm up North representatives do not undertake cold calling on the door step.

“However, residents should remain wary of cold callers who may be posing as legitimate companies. Following a few simple steps will assist residents in identifying these unscrupulous visitors.”

Warm Up North allows residents to benefit from part or fully-funded energy efficiency measures, including A-rated gas and oil boilers, solar PV as well as loft, cavity and external insulation, to help make their homes more efficient and reduce energy consumption.

Green Deal funding is available to householders through the local scheme, and will provide homeowners with advice and recommendations to increase the energy efficiency of their home.Sunderland City Council Portfolio Holder for Health, Housing and Adult Services, Coun Graeme Miller, said: “People should always be careful of unsolicited business visits or telephone calls to their homes, and ask for proof of identity.

“Our Trading Standards team is also asking everyone to be wary of sales-people claiming to represent Warm Up North sustainable energy campaign and Green Deal, in efforts to get contracts for work on people’s properties or charge for surveys which are unnecessary.”

Tips for seeing off rogue traders

To help protect themselves from potential rogue traders, the Warm Up North team is advising North East residents to:

l Always ask to see identification of the caller. Legitimate door knockers should carry and present an official ID to homeowners before initiating a discussion

l Never provide any personal information or bank details to a door knocker

l If an assessment is completed and a trader offers you an estimate, always ensure you get a written quotation

l Never hand over any money as a deposit

l If completing any paperwork, always read the small print and the take time to read it through properly

l If in doubt, always seek professional advice.

l Any genuine door knocker should not mind waiting outside, while you contact their employer to verify their identification.