The Trading Standards Institute is urging consumers to be aware of rogue telephone cold callers offering energy saving devices after trading standards up and down the country reported hundreds of complaints.
Trading standards are currently dealing with more than 200 complaints about people claiming to be their energy supplier or working in partnership with them, offering a plug in device which they say can save them 40 per cent off their energy bills.
Trading standards have had a number of the items tested which not only failed to satisfy electrical safety standards but do not deliver any tangible energy savings.
Ron Gainsford, Trading Standards Institute chief executive, said: “Consumers are warned not to use the product as they pose a risk of fire and electrocution and a safety recall has been issued for the items traced so far.
“Unscrupulous criminals are using the rising energy prices as an opportunity to lure in cash strapped consumers – elderly people seem to have been deliberately targeted.
“The number of complaints we are currently dealing with is bound to be only the tip of the iceberg.”
Westminster trading standards have been investigating the scam as the caller gives a London W1 Oxford Street address for the company.
Sue Jones from Westminster trading standards said: “The address they give
is that of a virtual office provider, the companies involved in these scams are not actually situated there - we believe the call centre they use is based abroad and the appliances appear to be distributed by a number of individuals in the UK.
“We know that these fraudsters have been duping consumers across the country into paying £99 for the energy saving device and have been told the caller always appears to be very credible by already knowing the consumers’ details, their energy supplier and sometimes some or all of the digits of their credit/ debit card.
“Often consumers do not realise that they have been defrauded until they receive the dodgy looking device with instructions in broken English and the accompanying invoice which names an unknown supplier and often gives an American address.”
So far four different suppliers have been named, 1 Stop Marketing Solutions, ITC Development Corp, Power Saver and Athico Ltd. but the fraudsters could be operating under other names too. Some of these names could be very similar to genuine companies – for example Power Saver Ltd, based in Tonbridge, Kent is not involved in this fraud.
The director of Athico Ltd appears to have been a victim of the scam himself. He fully cooperated with trading standards and the company has now ceased trading.
Advice to consumers
If consumers have responded to one of these cold calls they should report the matter to Action Fraud on www.actionfraud.org.uk 0300 123 2040 or Consumer Direct on 08454040506 . They should also contact their bank to stop their debit/ credit card. If a device has been received they should not use it and dispose of it carefully.
Consumers should be cautious about giving out any personal or financial information. They should independently verify a caller’s identity before agreeing to purchase any goods or services.
Trading Standards - not just for Christmas! - 12 December 2012
Trading Standards Advice - 16 November 2012
Stay safe and say NO to cold calling doorstep traders - 12 November 2012
Campaigns & Issues
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Competitions & Fun
Win one of two Whirlpool MAX Collection microwave ovens worth £160 each!
We’ve teamed up with Whirlpool to give away a couple of trendy microwave ovens from their new MAX Collection range. They will brighten up your kitchen with refreshing contemporary colours of Vivacious Green and Zesty Orange.
They’ll keep you in good shape and encourage you to eat healthily. You can prepare scrumptious healthy meals in next to no time, using little or no fat, with the fabulous steamer accessory.
Win a prize at home or away in this month's prize draw with Silver Travel Advisor!
Enter now and you could win a prize at home or away! How about a 7 night break for 2, with flights included, in beautiful Slovenia? Or a trip to London’s glitzy theatreland, staying in a 4* hotel? Both fabulous treats which must be won!
Silver Travel Advisor is a friendly website packed with advice, tips, information and honest reviews written by and for silver travellers (aged over 50). A team of advisors are on hand to answer queries (for free), and you can share your own experiences too.
Health & Wellbeing
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Property & Finance
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Leisure and Lifestyle
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Popular travel writing workshop - special offer for MT readers
Learn how to write travel blogs and articles, keep a travel diary or to record experiences for yourself or others to read.
The travel review site and advice forum for travellers aged 50+, Silver Travel Advisor (www.silvertraveladvisor.com), is once again encouraging aspiring travel writers to attend their travel writing workshop, to be held on Wednesday 17th March 2013 hosted by cruise line Noble Caledonia at their offices in Belgravia, Central London, at a cost of £55 per person.
I have received a copy of you paper from our Community Centre for the last two years and really look foreword to reading it. Thank you!