Householders across the north are being told to be “on guard” and reject cold-calling home energy traders on the doorstep.
The warning follows reports that there may be traders operating in the area, offering free insulation works, under Government-funded schemes, to properties without the formal approval required to do the works.
Trading Standards teams within Highland Council, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Orkney Islands Council and Shetland Islands Council have all received such reports.
Mark McGinty, trading standards team leader at Highland Council, said: “This is a complex market and there are many home energy grants available to householders to have products such as roof or wall insulation, boilers or solar systems installed for free, some even offering future payments to the recipient.
“This has led to an increased volume of complaints over the last few years from householders who feel they have been misled on their doorstep when they realise what they have got is not necessarily what they thought they were getting.
“Also, it is an offence for any trader to claim to operate under such a scheme without the appropriate approval or authority.
“Alongside my colleagues in the other councils, we are investigating the reports we have received and will take appropriate action should any offences be detected.”
He added: “I’d urge any householder to check first the validity of any scheme, product, installer and payment before entering into a contract, whether it is free or not.
“We are aware of rogue traders operating and with that come the now usual practices of misleading the householder into agreeing for works and poor workmanship, the latter can leave the householder having to foot the bill to repair any damage caused.”
The Councils involved are currently working with installers to deliver energy efficiency improvements to properties, such as cavity and external wall insulation.