Monthly Archives: January 2013

Green Deal official launch today

price of double glazing
So after years of consultation, negotiation and education for the industry today is the day. Today the green deal is launched, a day when all homeowners can improve their homes, save thousands of pounds and enjoy the benefits of energy efficient improvements.
Well others suggest the green deal is a white elephant or red herring!
We’ve reported several times before that the bureaucracy is set to destroy and real chance of improvements. Assessors have to be paid by someone, with the debt being attached to your home not a person, and interest rates of 7% for goods you can purchase cheaper, direct from companies now. Yes the same goods without any of these problems!
One significant drawback is the golden rule. In principal it makes sense, the product you use must pay for itself in its life time, however this presumes the ONLY consideration is energy costs and consumption, it isn’t. Yes energy efficiency is very important but many people also want secure windows with steel in them, pretty windows with timber foiled finishes with Georgian plant on bars, nice window furniture with fancy handles etc. NONE of these helps energy efficiency, they all add costs to the products and that means they fail the golden rule because it will take longer to recoup the investment.
So the choice is yours; bog standard industrialised energy efficient windows, without any decorative features or A rated, bespoke windows that blend into your home perfectly but cost slightly more?

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GGF speak up for against the OFT claims

ggf logo

The Glass and Glazing Federation today kick back criticisms from the Office of Fair Trading that they felt it necessary to write to 50 double glazing companies warning them about consumer issues and mis-selling. see article here.

Nigel rees on behalf of all GGF member companies is quoted as saying

As the industry authority, we will be contacting the OFT to outline our concerns with this survey. To survey 50 companies across three sectors, does not provide an accurate, fair or balanced representation of our industry which consists of over 10,000 home improvement companies installing energy efficient products.”

The OFT say

Many businesses in this sector comply with the law and engage in good business practices but we urge others to raise their standards. Businesses that fail to address the issues that we have identified risk enforcement action

That’s fair but companies find it hard to stay up to date with the constant changing of laws, consumer rights and technical compliance issues like CE marking due later this year, we highlighted this story here.

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Help for you to decide which double glazing company to use.

tick boxes

Every double glazing company in the UK can be listed on Doubleglazingcompanies.com, free of charge. It is designed so you can read or write reviews about their products, their service and your experience using them. This helps you find trusted local suppliers and others can benefit from reading your review.

Doubleglazingcompanies.com is independent, you can search by your post code, by specific name or via an advanced search facility for only those which meet your specific criteria FENSA registered, CERTASS registered, the Glazing Ombudsman or DGCOS, GGF etc and if they have WER’s, A rated windows, and BBA or BSI etc

We don’t ask you for personal data then sell it to dozens of companies, because that’s just lead generation. You have no control who it gets sent to, you don’t know who is going to contact you, whats more those companies have paid for that lead about your enquiry so they’ll want you to buy windows to cover the costs!

Don’t get forced into that situation. Just enter your postcode and we will tell you what we know about every company near you, the accreditation and trade bodies they claim to belong to and a live link to companies house so you can double check if they are saying the truth about when they started as a limited company.

If you do need a quote then why not select the companies you like and use our wizard to send them (and only them) an email. You select who you like, you control who it is sent to and neither you nor those you choose have anything to pay, it’s a free service we offer to encourage companies to join our web site that the good companies might get enquiries if they have good content and we want you to be so pleased with our site, that you post a review to help others.

 

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The OFT investigates 50 double glazing companies

window frame

The OFT has written to over 50 of the leading installers of double glazing, insulation and solar panels, asking them to ensure they are providing consistently good standards to consumers.

It seems the OFT finds the industry in need of improvements as they seek to raise compliance standards across the energy efficiency sector. They say it is becuase they have  found instances of poor practic, high pressure sales techniques, unclear information about paperwork and cancellation rights, and poor quality installations.

Some in the indurtsy find this a little rich coming from a government that changes legislation every 5 minutes, introduces 14 day colling off periods that work against consumers interests, that doesn’t know what VAT rate it should use and force upon us, green deal energy savings schemes that are a joke!

No wonder a few complaints get made, companies dont have a clue about the new regulations, trading practises and criteria for compliance.

Look, nobody wants to be bullied into making a decision to buy something they dont need or want, irrespective of if its a boiler, solar panels, double glazing or light bulb. Consumers have had (compulsory) 7 days coolling off period, but the new regulations say that whilst they have 14 days (better) this right, can be signed away (dangerous). So how can a company defend itself when they genuinely obtain permission to cancel the 14 days cooling off period, only to be confronted by someone caliming they didnt understand what they were signing, recipe for MORE complaints and suggestions that companies aren’t complying to regulations.

The government appointed “Independent Regulator” for the Green Deal, is in fact owed by the big energy companies. Just how can a regulator be independent if the shareholders are the companies being regulated?

With the Energy Saving Trust introducing new initatives, with new accreditations being introduced and CE marking just arround the corner, millions of pounds are being spent to ensure compliance. Yet the OFT raises concerns that consumers have been given potentially misleading or inaccurate information about the energy they could save or their eligibility for a grant or subsidy.

Just look at the BIG power companies, they themselves are the biggest culprits, every week theres a report from the Advertising Standards Agency about one of them mis selling energy contracts.

The government still hasn’t agreed with Brussels about the VAT rate. They say allowing 5% VAT on energy savings products is unlawful, whilst the industry, having developed excellent products that are energy positive, are forced to ask customers for 20% VAT!

Some in the indurstry just wish government would let us install energy efficient windows and doors for the consumers of this country, set VAT rates the same level as other energy saving measures, and simplify rebates so that everyone understand the process, elegibility and system.

Consumer Direct and Citezens Advice received around 13,000 contacts about double glazing, insulation and solar panels between November 2010 and November 2011, rising to 14,000 in the same period to nov 2012. Too many true but this is for double glazing, insulation AND solar panels, not just double glazing.

 

However they do offer some good adv

 

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
Energy efficiency is an area of growing interest and enquiry for consumers. Consumer Direct received around 13,000 contacts about double glazing, insulation and solar panels between November 2010 and November 2011, and Consumer Direct and Citizens’ Advice received over 14,000 contacts about these markets between November 2011 and November 2012.
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52% want double glazing as EST extend their labelling and Verification Schemes

thermostat

Introduced in 2000 for the past 12 years The Energy Saving Trust has been running its recommendation scheme (ESTr) and today it has announced it is extending labelling and verification services in readiness for the government’s Green Deal scheme (which some say is in tatters).

The Energy Saving Trust is a social enterprise with a charitable foundation and according to their web site they give impartial, accurate and independent advice to households, communities and organisations on how to reduce carbon emissions, reduce fuel bills, use water more sustainably and drive smarter. EST works with governments, local authorities, communities, third sector organisations and
businesses.

Matthew Knight, Head of Assurance, Energy Saving Trust, said:

“With Green Deal soon to launch there will be more businesses offering new products and services to consumers. One in five of us is confused about what to buy and yet about half of us are interested in buying new energy efficient boilers or double-glazing. This shows that consumers are crying out for guidance”

EST claim to offer consumers the reassurance they need and provide businesses with
tailor-made schemes to give them the confidence to offer new green
products and services.”

They are also introducing new services like Energy labelling consultancy – a bespoke labelling scheme for green products to help inform consumers’ buying decisions and Green claims verification – a service to validate companies’ claims,
messages and product information so that consumers are reassured that the
products or services live up to the claims. In addition there is a Green Deal measures package – a unique scheme that combines the most energy efficient products with Green Deal providers.

According to their recent survey of more than 2,000 households nearly half of UK households (47 per cent) say they have an interest in installing a boiler with a better energy rating.

Just over half (52 per cent) say they have an interest in installing double glazing, while more than a fifth (21 per cent) of UK households are “very interested” in fitting insulation to their home.

Despite strong interest in going green, it seems one is five is confused about what to buy and four in ten will go to an independent body first for advice. Thats why you should always search the internet, do your own homework, get advice and recommendations from as many as you can and read reviews to protect yourself from those who lie about their accreditations.

Find an approved EST company here or if you are a company wanting to join EST email estr@est.org.uk

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Everest advert misleading

ideal home show

The ASA (advertising standards agency) today confirmed that they upheld a complaint that a recent TV ad for Everest was misleading.

In the advert which features a number of products, doors, windows and a conservatory they display a guarantee that said, “Lifetime guarantee” and “Lifetime guarantee applies to uPVC windows and doors only. Terms and conditions apply”

Whilst Everest defended their advert, saying it applies to sealed units and discolouration of PVC, the adjudicators upheld the complaint because viewers could believe it covered all the components like hinges, handles, letter flaps etc which it doesn’t. Granted its difficult to ensure all exclusions are stated in a 30 second advert but Everest have been doing TV adverts since the days of Ted Mount, his helicopter and the feather (which was stolen a couple of years ago), so they should be good at it by now!

Did you ever see Teds advert for “Everett double glazing” on the Kenny Everett show?

The ad breached BCAP Code rules 3.1 and 3.2 (Misleading advertising), 3.10 (Qualification) and 3.50 (Guarantees and after-sales service). See the full complaint here.

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Cat flap needed in Liverpool

burglar break in

On the pets forum a lady is asking for help, she is worried about the seal not working and for details of a reliable supplier in the Liverpool area. Cat flaps should be fine as should the sealed unit, however don’t leave keys in the back door or visible in the kitchen as burglars will use the flap to hook them and enter your home

 

 

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Master Locksmiths Association join DGC

MLA logo

What a great start to 2013 for the Master Locksmiths Association members, they have been added to the web site so that retail customers wishing to find reputable, reliable and vetted companies can do so with confidence.

Formed in May 1986 the MLA is a not-for-profit trade association registered number 02020160. It was established to set and promote standards of conduct, good practice and quality materials within the locksmith industry.

Following a large campaign and debates in the houses of Commons then the Lords, the association was added to the “exceptions order” for the rehabilitation of offenders act, enabling the MLA to perform standard level CRB checks on its members.

In addition to this vetting, their regular inspection of approved companies (including checking of jobs done, paperwork trails for quality purposes, insurances etc, and the need for every MLA Approved Company to employ a locksmith with an exam based proof of competence) you can be assured you are using locksmiths of the highest quality.

To provide further peace of mind the MLA is a corporate affiliate member of the Trading Standards institute, a trade association member of the Association of Chief Police Officer’s “Secured by Design organisation” and works closely with the Neighbourhood Watch and Home Watch Network, as well as consumer organisations like Which and government departments.

So if you need a locksmith, it is vital that you look for one which is independently vetted, inspected and competent. Do make sure you look for the official logo (as shown above), it’ll mean the company is an approved MLA member and check they are MLA licensed by checking against this website, that way you’ll be certain that a bonafide locksmith is being used.

 

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The best video to explain window energy ratings

14

WER’s have been arround for many years now but confusion reins about which is best, a low U value or a high WER, whats the difference anyway?

Well Planitherm in conjunction with Anglian Windows have had a video produced to explain the system, what WERS are, how glass is made to perform as well as it does and why solar gain is good for homes (although too much can require unbearable)

This is an excellent video if you have 5 mins

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New fields added, easier search for accreditations

new accreditations at double glazing companies

We have added certification numbers to accreditations so that people can see the actual affiliation number and make it easier for visitors to satisfy themselves that they are dealing with bona-fide companies that do indeed belong to these bodies.

Last month we reported on a Birmingham business who admitted falsely claiming membership of the GGF and of FENSA, so don’t  think it doesn’t happen, there are directors of companies out there who make false claims. There may be good reasons but they we found guilty and customers were provided with information that was untrue.

By adding these new fields, companies will be able to add the relevant number, making the checking that much easier.

Don’t get caught, check first, read this article about the best double glazing salesman and how they operate!

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