Warning from Hampshire Trading Standards Service – Doorstep and telephone cold callers offering spray foam loft insulation

Hampshire Trading Standards would like residents to be alert to cold callers at the door and/or on the telephone offering to spray foam insulation for lofts.  The caller may make false claims such as they are working for or on behalf of local authorities, or that they work with Trading Standards.

They may make exaggerated claims about the merits of the foam and its ability to prevent heat loss, also about the savings that can be achieved balanced against the cost of installation.  Claims that existing glass fibre insulation no longer meet current regulations, or will soon be illegal, are untrue.

Although in some cases spray foam insulation can be effective, it can also cause problems if incorrectly applied, and is often unnecessary.  One of the main problems can be lack of ventilation to the roof space, which can cause condensation and damp.  Often the wooden roof beams are encased in the foam, this can cause the wood to rot inside.

Once applied, the foam is almost impossible to remove without damaging the roof.  Therefore, it is important to research the suitability of the foam for the property before having it installed.  The resale value of the property may be affected if the foam is unsuitable.

The National Insulation Association (NIA) represents the insulation industry in the United Kingdom and have a code of professional practice that all members agree to follow.  It is recommended that you always use an NIA installer or by calling 08451 636363.

For further information on energy savings you can contact the Energy Savings Trust on 0300 123 1234

Trading Standards advise residents not to agree to work that is instigated as a result of a cold call or via a leaflet drop.  Residents should obtain at least 3 written quotes from reputable businesses or traders who are either members of the Hampshire County Council Trading Standards Buy With Confidence Scheme or a recognised trade association.

Members of the Buy With Confidence scheme are fully audited to ensure their trading practices are legal, honest and fair.  All members have been checked for trustworthiness and compliance with consumer protection laws. Details can be obtained by telephoning 01962 833620, emailing buy.with.confidence@hants.gov.uk or via the website www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk

Traders who agree work at the home of an individual or at a place other than their usual business premises are required by law to provide consumers with a Notice of Right to Cancel, which gives a 14 day cooling off period from the date the work starts.   Even if work has started, there is still a legal right to cancel, although some payment may be required for materials.

For non urgent enquires, or to inform Trading Standards about companies offering foam insulation where false claims are suspected, can report the matter to our partners at the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 04 05 06.  Please try to obtain a name and address for the company.

For urgent enquires or where insulation has been agreed too,  contact Hampshire County Council’s Quick Response Team on 01962 833666 (Monday – Friday 0900hrs to 1700hrs), where specially trained officers are on hand to provide advice.

If assistance is required outside of these hours please contact Hampshire Police on their non-urgent number 101 or dial 999 if you feel threatened or intimidated.

Hampshire County Council Trading Standards Service

Montgomery House  Monarch Way

Winchester  Hampshire  SO22 5PW

Tel: 01962 833620

Fax: 01962 833698

E-mail: ts.safeguarding@hants.gov.uk

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