Consumers are being encouraged to “be wise to being green” in this year’s National Consumer Week, which runs from 6 to 12 December and which is being supported by North Yorkshire Trading Standards.

The campaign highlights the risk of misleading environmental and energy efficiency claims.

It is important that we take steps to be more environmentally friendly, like making our homes more energy efficient and installing energy technologies like solar panels. It can save money in the long run, and it’s good for the environment.

It is also an important part of how we can meet our UK climate change target and is something we’ll all have to think about.

But it is also important that people feel confident when making these decisions. That’s why the campaign is raising awareness of how people can protect themselves from misleading energy efficiency and environmental claims, such as “green scams” and rogue traders. With advice and support, consumers can arm themselves with the knowledge and confidence to make the best decisions.

What are the main issues?

  • Scams related to home energy improvements, e.g. fraudulent traders or scammers pretending to offer government grants
  • Mis-selling of energy improvement services or goods, including pressure selling of goods and services that might not be appropriate for the consumer
  • Greenwashing, or misleading claims made by companies on a wider cross-market basis

The top three messages

  1. It is important to make eco-friendly decisions as we work towards net zero, and that includes things like making our homes more energy efficient. But it is also important to take these steps in a safe and secure way. You can equip yourself with the knowledge and confidence you need to make the best decisions.
  2. There are some misleading claims out there, so here are some things you need to look out for when making these decisions:
    • Scams
    • Pressure selling and mis-selling
    • Greenwashing
  1. Sometimes things still go wrong, and if they do, Citizens Advice is there to help. Get in touch or visit the advice pages for support.

How to protect yourself

  • Before you buy anything, check the company or website you are using. Read reviews on different websites, ask for references, verify the company’s details using external sources, and read any terms and conditions.
  • If you are having home improvements done, make sure you ask for written quotes. Try to get them from at least three different contractors to help you decide if you are getting a fair price.
  • When looking for a trader to use, check out certified schemes that recommend traders, like TrustMark – the Government’s endorsed quality scheme.

Citizens Advice runs National Consumer Week in collaboration with the Consumer Protection Partnership.