MP advises Green Deal HELMS customers to lodge claims

Lesley Laird MP has issued advice to constituents who were mis-sold Green Deal improvement schemes with the now-defunct HELMS company.

Home Energy and Lifestyle Management Ltd, based in Cambuslang, offered customers ‘free’ Green Deal improvements such as solar panels, wall cladding, a new boiler or underfloor heating.

However, 460 customers have since complained, with some reporting they were never told the ‘free’ scheme involved having to repay a loan through increased electricity bills.

HELMS also encouraged customers to part-fund installation by assigning rights to any feed-in tariff to a separate company, related to HELMS.

Lesley said: “Many customers found themselves tied into 25-year finance agreement deals which saw their electricity bills spiral and, because the debt is collected through electricity meters, it stays with the property, meaning some people were unable to sell their homes.

“I know HELMS sold over 4,500 Green Deal plans and I’m not suggesting every one of those plans was mis-sold, but consumers who believe they were unfairly dealt with should know that they can seek redress.

“The Green Deal Finance Company (GDFC), who have acquired the loans, are dealing with complaints on a case-by-case basis and consumers should contact them. The GDFC will review their complaint and, where appropriate, make settlement offers.

“If the customer is still not satisfied, they can refer their case to the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy which has the power reduce or cancel loans where there has been a breach of the relevant rules.”

To contact the GDFC directly, email customerhelp@gdfcassets.org

For general queries about the Green Deal, contact the Green Deal team at gdconsumers@beis.gov.uk

For more information: www.citizensadvice.org.uk/scotland/consumer/energy/energy-supply/making-energy-efficient-home-improvements/helms-home-energy-lifestyle-management-ltd-and-green-deal-concerns-and-complaints/

Pic courtesy of flickr/Marufish