Crown examining 'potential criminality' of selling home insulation products

Incidents of homeowners being 'pressured' into installing loft insulation are now being investigated for potential criminality.

Crown Office examining ‘potential criminality’ of selling home insulation products STV News

The Crown Office and the Procurator Fiscal are examining potential criminality in the selling of insulation products after Trading Standards Scotland handed over a dossier of complaints.

An STV investigation uncovered invoices for thousands of pounds and has heard from victims who say they were “brow beaten” and “harassed” into signing up for the service.

One customer, who took out a bank loan to pay more than £3,000 for the work, described how a salesman spent nearly four hours in her house before she signed documentation to waive her consumer rights and accept the spray foam insulation being installed.

Independent experts assigned by Trading Standards to look into the work carried out said that in many cases the work was “completely unnecessary” and have left the owners facing issues such as increased dampness, poor ventilation and the risk of roof collapse.

The products are often sold with claims they are “endorsed” or “supported by” the Scottish Government, which isn’t the case.

A government spokesman said: “The Scottish Government does not support cold calling by installers offering loft inspections or other services.

“Scottish Government schemes such as Warmer Homes Scotland and the Home Energy Scotland Grant and Loan scheme can only be accessed by contacting Home Energy Scotland, who provide free, expert and impartial advice about how to make homes warmer and less costly to heat.

“Local projects will always be backed up by an official letter from your local council.”

Fiona Richardson, Chief Officer at Trading Standards Scotland, said: “We welcome the Crown Office’s interest in the case that we have submitted. We believe that consumers are suffering significant harm due to these trading practices. 

“These firms are exploiting the cost-of-living crisis and are targeting those who want to make their homes more energy efficient, providing misleading information about products. 

“Our advice is never to engage with cold callers offering ‘free’ loft or roof surveys, and never accept information offered from such people without doing independent research, particularly if they tell you that there are grants or funding schemes available. 

“We would also ask people to look out for family members, friends and neighbours who may be vulnerable and to report any suspicious behaviour to Police Scotland.” 

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