The Glass and Glazing Federation (GGF) is concerned about the recent Office of Fair Trading (OFT) Review that states a number of British companies offering energy efficiency measures including double glazing may be breaching consumer law.
In their press release on January 10th the OFT stated they have 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.
The OFT's review found that the behaviour of some businesses in the energy efficiency sector - including instances of poor practice that risk undermining consumer confidence and limiting expansion of the market.
Nigel Rees, GGF Group Chief Executive commented, “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 concerns include instances where consumers have been given potentially misleading or inaccurate information about the energy they could save or their eligibility for a grant or subsidy. The review has also highlighted the use of high pressure selling techniques by some, such as salespeople staying in consumers' homes for several hours, or indicating that a product is only available at a discount if bought immediately.
Nigel Rees continued, “When we communicate with the OFT we will be highlighting our high quality advice and support to trade and consumers as well as explaining, that it is perfectly acceptable for companies to take the necessary time required when selling replacement windows to a homeowner, due to the complexities in glass and glazing with product specifications, types and materials as well as the property itself.”
This review is part of an OFT drive to raise compliance standards across the energy efficiency sector and to address the concerns arising from the review, the OFT is working with fellow enforcers, regulators, government, industry and consumer groups to promote a consistent level of good business practice. However the GGF will offer to work with OFT on any future surveys or research of the Glass and Glazing industry.
In their press statement, OFT did acknowledge that many companies are conducting good business practice, Nisha Arora, Director in the OFT's Services, Infrastructure and Public Markets Group, said:
'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.'
In their review, the OFT also produced guidance for consumers buying energy efficiency products and were optimistic about the growth of the energy efficient sector which is estimated to be worth over £18 billion.
To read the full statement click here: http://www.oft.gov.uk/news-and-updates/press/2013/02-13