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Warning over cold calling scam

Published: 20 Nov 2015 00:01

Nuisance callers misleading consumers.

Cold-callers have been condemned for targeting households claiming Scottish Government legislation states they must replace their existing heating system with a new A rated boiler.

Housing Minister Margaret Burgess assured householders that there are no such requirements in place.

She urged people seeking heating help to call the Scottish Government's Home Energy Scotland advice service on 0808 808 2282. The energy efficiency advice service , which does not cold-call out to homes, has helped thousands of households with grants, loans and advice and support on how to keep their homes warm and save money. More than 28,000 people have contacted the advice service in the past nine weeks alone.

Mrs Burgess also said anyone concerned about nuisance calls should contact the ICO (Information Commissioner's Office) which is responsible for the regulation of unsolicited live calls, recorded calls and texts and can take action against companies. The ICO helpline number is 0303 123 1113.

Mrs Burgess said: "It is fantastic news that so many people can access the Home Energy Scotland advice service, and be supported to make changes to their homes that will ensure they are warm and energy efficient.

"What is not acceptable, however, is the number of nuisance callers profiteering from this, and pressurising householders to replace heating systems when they don't need to. To be clear: Home Energy Scotland will never call households that haven't asked them to call.

"Other calls which are unsolicited not only undermine the trust and support for the energy efficiency sector, but they also cause many householders to feel intimidated and distressed.

"I want to reassure people that there is no legislation requiring anyone to replace or upgrade their heating system.

"If this is something they are considering doing, they can see what help and support is out there by calling the Home Energy Scotland on 0808 808 2282 themselves. I would also urge people to make complaints if they receive nuisance calls so action can be taken."

Notes to editors

The Home Energy Scotland hotline (0808 808 2282) offers free impartial advice and support, making sure households know what support they are entitled to.

We have allocated over half a billion pounds since 2009 on a raft of Fuel Poverty and Energy Efficiency programmes and this year a record budget of £119m is being made available for fuel poverty and energy efficiency. Since 2008, more than 900,000 energy efficiency measures have been installed in homes in Scotland, nearly 1 in 3 of all households (over 700,000) have received measures.

Ofcom's last Nuisance Calls Joint Action Plan update (Dec 2014) includes a combined report of the enforcement action being taken by Ofcom and the ICO. It also details a significant amount of other combined and co-ordinated work streams that are underway to tackle nuisance calls more generally, including the work they are undertaking with government, other regulators, industry and consumer groups such as Which?

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) handled over 180,000 concerns relating to nuisance calls and texts from across the UK during the course of the financial year 2014-15. Ofcom has fined eight companies a total of £1.768m for abandoned and silent calls since January 2012.