A couple from Glenrothes say they have been left with a £10,000 bill and a roof in danger of collapse after allegedly being mis-sold spray foam loft insulation.
Alison and Euan Oliver say they are an energy conscious couple who wanted to make savings on their bills. So when they were approached by about insulating their loft, they thought it was a good idea.
But the couple claim cold-callers persuaded them to install the costly spray foam in their loft by signing up to a finance deal.
Retired teacher Euan told STV News: “In July we had a cold call who spoke to me and arranged to come back the following day when my wife would be in and he spoke to both of us.
“He asked us if we had ever heard of spray foam insulation, which we hadn’t. But he sat there and he showed us photos and videos and explained.
“He said ‘you’re obviously as interested in being as heat efficient as you possibly can and this is what you need’.”
The couple allege he persuaded them to take out a finance deal.
“I feel we were kind of manipulated into taking the finance anyway – I don’t know how you remember that – but the guy was saying ‘finance is available if you’re struggling,’” said Alison.
However, after the work was done, the couple discovered that they had been sold product that was not only unnecessary, but also potentially harmful to their roof.
Independent experts who inspected their loft found that the spray foam was poor quality and incorrectly installed, trapping moisture in the roof boards and causing them to rot.
They also warned that the roof could collapse if the foam was not removed as soon as possible.
“Up to that point I thought that this stuff is genuine insulation, it’s proper stuff you can use it to insulate roofs.
“But then when the independent guy came and had a look at it, he said ‘no, the moisture is being trapped in the roof boards and they will rot. You need to get this removed.’
“That is when I thought ‘this was never fit for purpose’.”
When used correctly and by an authorised installer, open cell spray foam insulation such as the kind used in Olivers’ loft can be a safe and effective way to insulate a home.
However, experts warn there are some rogue traders who are exploiting the demand for this product and offering cheap and inferior alternatives that can cause serious damage to properties.
Barry Masterson, runs one of the largest licensed and accredited fitters of spray foam insulation in Scotland.
He said rogue firms are killing the industry and wants to see them held to account.
He said: “There are a lot of good contractors out there doing good work and they are putting in the hours to make sure what they do for the customer is the right thing.
“They’re not so much focussed on the sale as making sure it’s the right thing for the customer and their home.
“Whereas the people that are putting in uncertified foams by unlicenced technicians – they are the ones that are making it really difficult to run a business in this industry.”
He is urging homeowners to do their research before hiring anyone to install spray foam insulation, and to check their credentials and reviews.
He’s also warning them to avoid being pressure sold by cold callers and to always explore multiple quotes from different companies.
Meanwhile, the Crown Office is continuing to look at reports from Trading Standards investigation into some of the sales practices – like those used with Euan and Alison – to establish if any criminal charges can be brought.
The company involved in selling to Euan and Alison, who are not being named for legal reasons, have denied the allegations, and declined to comment further.
STV News is now on WhatsApp
Get all the latest news from around the countryFollow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp
Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country