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Buying Energy Efficiency Products

Posted on 17 January 2013

Improving the energy efficiency of your home can be a major investment so don’t feel pressured into agreeing to anything. The Office of Fair Trading has developed this guidance to help you buy energy efficiency products with confidence.

You can also get specific advice on energy saving products from the Energy Saving Trust (www.energysavingtrust.org.uk) or by calling the Energy Saving Advice Service on 0300 123 1234.

Advice on consumer issues is available from Citizens Advice (www.adviceguide.org.uk/consumer, 08454 04 05 06 or 08454 04 05 05 for a Welsh speaking adviser). In Northern Ireland contact Consumerline (www.consumerline.org, or 0300 123 6262).

1. Take your time in making a decision

If you are promised a 'special discount' or 'time limited' offer don't be tempted to sign up straightaway.  Shop around with different businesses to make sure you get a good deal. Remember: you can ask a salesperson to leave your home at any time.

2. Double check the facts

Check the product is suitable for your home, whether you are eligible for any grants towards the cost of installation, and the basis of any claims about potential energy savings or benefits. Only agree to go ahead if you’re entirely satisfied.

3. Know what you are signing

Check whether you are signing a contract or just agreeing to a survey or a quote. Give yourself enough time to read all the paperwork, and ask questions if you are unclear about anything. Don't sign if you are unsure about doing so.

4. Know your cancellation rights

Where you buy on your doorstep or in your home and you spend more than £35, you usually have seven calendar days to change your mind and cancel, and can get back any money you have already paid, including a deposit – the 'cooling off' period. The cooling off period starts on the day you are given your written cancellation notice by the salesperson. Think carefully before you agree to any work starting during the cooling off period – you can still cancel but may have to pay a reasonable amount.

5. Know your rights if things go wrong

Make sure you know what you can do if things go wrong. Contact Citizens Advice for information and advice on your legal rights.

You can visit the OFT website for a downloadable version of this form here.