25th October 2022

TSS warns of loft insulation scam

Trading Standards Scotland has issued a warning about salespeople posing as loft insulation surveyors.

By JTS Staff
Journal of Trading Standards' in-house team
Dishonest traders and companies are attempting to exploit the cost-of-living crisis and are targeting those who want to make their homes more energy-efficient

Consumers in Scotland are being urged to be on the lookout for cold-callers offering ‘free surveys’ of lofts before engaging in high-pressure sales tactics to install spray foam insulation.

Trading Standards Scotland (TSS) has received complaints from residents who discovered that the ‘surveyors’ were in fact salespeople who provided them with misleading information. Some people were told that their lofts were damp or mouldy, and required spray foam insulation – usually at a cost of thousands of pounds.

Fiona Richardson, Chief Officer of Trading Standards Scotland, said: “Dishonest traders and companies are attempting to exploit the cost-of-living crisis and are targeting those who want to make their homes more energy-efficient, providing misleading information about products and implying that funding or grants are available.”

In many cases, the addition of spray foam insulation to loft spaces can affect the mortgageability of a house, as a surveyor may not be able to conduct proper checks of the roof.

“We strongly advise homeowners to consult with a mortgage advisor who is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority before having spray foam insulation installed,” said Richardson.

One couple from the Borders recently received a cold call offering a free roof survey – the caller claimed to be working alongside Home Energy Scotland and told them that an inspection would be required to ensure their eligibility for any government grants.

They agreed to a loft survey and were told that toxic mould had been found. The ‘engineer’ stayed in their home for almost four hours, detailing the dangers linked to the mould and persuading them that spray foam insulation was the best solution. They eventually agreed to purchase the insulation and paid more than £5,000 to have it installed.

A couple of months later, they looked into re-mortgaging their home so that they could pay for their son’s college fees. An equity release company refused to provide them with a mortgage due to the spray foam insulation.

“Never accept information offered from these sources without doing independent research, particularly if they tell you that there are grants or funding schemes available,” Richardson said.

“Before agreeing to have any work done, have an impartial assessment carried out on your home to find out which energy-efficiency measures will actually be beneficial to your property. Don’t agree to get an assessment done by a company who cold calls you – they will not be impartial.

“We would also ask people to look out for family members, friends and neighbours who may be vulnerable and to report any suspicious behaviour to Police Scotland.”

24 responses to “TSS warns of loft insulation scam”

  1. Anne Donaldson. says:

    This has caused me a lot of upset.

  2. Ian Lindsay says:

    Just had a cold call claiming I needed an engineer’s visit for a H&S check on my loft insulation as damp and mould may have accumulated. Claimed the installer should have left a certificate pinned to the rafters, or given me a certificate stating a check would be needed after 10 years. Visit would be free and was paid for by installer, allegedly British Gas, and related to Government incentive. My house is 20 yrs old, has its original loft insulation, and I don’t think has had extra material added since. The space is now part boarded. I strongly suspect a scam

  3. K. Jones says:

    Hi, I’ve had same call giving identical 10yr timing etc, I do have A4 sheets of info in loft but am very suspicious. Guy on phone was incredibly rude too.

  4. Dawn Finch says:

    Just had this exact phishing scam call me from the number 0118 230 2156
    They said I was “breathing in illegal and dangerous irritants” and that they would send someone round to do a “free safety inspection”. I asked how they got my number and they refused to say, and they didn’t even know where I was in the UK. Alarm bells! So I searched for a scam and up popped this article – thanks for the info!

  5. Robert Jackson says:

    Had cold call re safety of loft insulation.Said if insulation was unsafe we would qualify for grant.It transpires that we would get spray foam in its place.When I questioned the caller re downside of spray he promptly hung up.(strangely they said they were in the area and could do report today)

  6. Diane Blakeley says:

    I have had the same type of call three times now.

  7. Les Hudson says:

    Just had a call relating to above scams and suspected it was a scam. I said thank you I will do some investigating before taking it further. Then checked the number of caller and found this result. Callers number was 02037406692. According to “ who called me” on Google this is from “Magrethea Telecommunications who sell phone numbers to scammers. Do not take them on.

  8. Pete says:

    I’ve had 4 voicemails left from the number 0161 554 0313 which is the loft insulation scam. They don’t leave a message but I still get the voicemails even though the number is blocked.

  9. A Franco says:

    01524959324 from the government to do a free loft survey. To save me energy bills. Pressure to have a surveyor come next working day. Mentioned measuring moisture content in loft. Which you may as well take from the garden if loft is well ventilated.

  10. 2dot says:

    Just had this call, nearly fell for it too – they had my name and address, gave all the chat about safety checks and certificates, and coincidentally they had a surveyor who could come this evening. I initially agreed, but when they phoned back to ‘put me on the system’ I said I’d do my own research and they hung up. Number withheld. Avoid!

  11. Sassy says:

    Also had this type of call from a Manchester number – wouldn’t tell me the name of the so-called “Energy Hub” she was calling from and eventually hung up when I kept asking her to verify where she was calling from. Reported and blocked!

  12. Mr Paul Kidger says:

    I was contacted on 28/09/23 asking about my loft insulation and claiming that glass or mineral fibre poses a health rsk and risk of condensation. I KNOW this to be untrue. I am a retired Energy Consultant. The caller refused to give me the name of her employer and instead gave me waffle about an Energy Hub working for a number of consultants. The caller seemed keen to send a ‘consultant’ round to inspect my roofspace. Since she could not answer my simple question about her employment, we ended the call. The phone number was 01615248432.

  13. Daniel says:

    I kept getting cold calls despite my number being registered with the TPS. Same thing, the lung foundation (or similar) had declared fibreglass loft insulation to be a hazard to health. The company was offering free no-obligation visits to check on the loft insulation. I knew it was a scam, but as I was fed up with their repeated calls I played along with them this time and let them make an appointment to come to my home. They were most upset on the phone when their “surveyor” couldn’t find the non-existent address I’d given them. I do hope they call again so I can send them on another fool’s errand.

  14. Maureen Taylor says:

    2nd Oct 2023
    Just had another t/phone call from ‘Energy Hub” on number 01615240336 proved to be another SCAM RE LOFT
    Obviously I shall not be taking this any further.

  15. Glen says:

    I’ve just had a similar call stating they were from an Energy Hub who worked with lots of suppliers. Apparently they had my details on their database and could see that my loft insulation hadn’t been checked in the last 18 months. I said it had been checked and the woman I was speaking to became quite aggressive. She wouldn’t let me get a word in edgeways. In the end I said that of course they could come and inspect – whenever they wanted. I was then asked for my name and address so politely replied ‘if I’m on your database, you’ll have that information.’ The call ended.

  16. June Woollett says:

    I received one of these calls yesterday. It felt fishy so I ended the call and went online – the phone number was 01615246597. I was horrified to see so many scam warnings. Fortunately I ended the call although by then they had my name and address.

  17. George says:

    Just had a call about my loft insulation causing mold and damp if it’s they old fibreglass fluffy looking stuff was his description told him it was and he said because I’m over 50 I’m entitled to a free survey and would phone back in a hour to arrange a free survey and will be left a report on it. He also said in his opening line your house has come up as not received the survey which is been carried out in your area. Told him not to bother phoning back as my instalation is fine.

  18. Michael G Trotter says:

    Just had the same telephone conversation regarding loft insulation and how potentially dangerous the fibreglass could cause lung damage etc etc, I said no to the person on the phone I don’t want a inspection and hung up. I accidentally deleted the phone no. code was 0131. Scotland. Then I checked on the Web site asking if anyone was doing a check, then I discovered the scam……..

  19. A says:

    I just had the same scam, phoned from Ayr number 01292 876028 then on several blocked number calls. Eventually a non blocked mobile 07591365684 called offering a free survey and certificate suggesting it was a requirement to have this check carried out, they said most of the other things mentioned in the other posts condensation health risks etc. I asked where had this safety requirement came from as I am in the construction industry and never heard of it, they quickly hung up.

  20. R. Mitchell says:

    I have had two calls from “Information Scotland “ in the past 24 hours, using the same approach as described above re- roof insulation. Threat of damp etc. I said that I was not interested, but the”manager” persisted, so I ended the call.

  21. T C says:

    I had this call today from an 0161 number. Caller said she was phoning from an Energy Hub and offered a free ‘attic’ check. She cited new research from the British Lung Foundation indicating that old style loft insulation could be detrimental to health.
    Fortunately I’m savvy and, as she talked, I googled and found info on both the BLF and this website indicating that it’s a scam.
    We are also registered with the TPS.

  22. Shell says:

    05/02/24 Cold caller using a London phone number keeps calling me to arrange a free survey for my loft insulation due to it being identified as a lung irritant. They say they are from the energy hub on behalf of the British Lung Foundation. It is a lady speaking. I believe she has called me more than 8 times now since beginning of this year. She said a surveyor will call me about 30 mjns to confirm appointment. She has my address and name and phone number now :/

  23. Peter Smith says:

    I have received 3 unsolicited phone calls from a person who calls himself Steve. He has a strong Manchester accent and claims to work for Energy UK.
    He wants a loft survey by his surveyor. He just happens to have two free appointments today!!
    I have just received a call from “Max” and he wanted more information. I told him that I was not interested. He also withheld his number!
    I have blocked the Manchester number which several people have identified.

  24. Paul says:

    I work for a claims management company, Hydrogard Legal Services and spray foam insulation has caused issues to thousands of consumers. The worrying scam now is the same companies who sell the foam insulation, now have companies that remove it. They have the database of all the people who purchased it, so it is very targeted.
    NEVER allow anyone in your home from a cold call and question them where they got your details from. If you can get the company details, say you will need to call them back, what’s the best number to call them on. Then report it to Trading Standards.

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