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
National Award Scheme Launched
THE ELDERLY Accommodation Council (EAC) National Housing awards for Older People 2013 are now in full swing
This year will be the fourth year that the awards have been held, and they aim to put residents in older peoples housing right at the centre of the assessment and award process.
A new formula for the awards has been launched this year which combine an entertaining nomination process with a Resident Consultation and already it is proving to be a great success.
Top designer and celebrity chefs join Prostate Cancer UK in leading the fight against the disease
Prostate Cancer UK is urging the nation to dust off their vintage tea cups, grab their rolling pins, get baking and hold a 1940s themed Tea For Victory party in order to raise vital funds to help the 250,000 men in the UK living with prostate cancer.
One of Britain's most acclaimed designers and vintage supporters, Wayne Hemingway, has exclusively designed 40s-style materials, including bunting, table cloths and cake stands, available for people to use at their tea parties.
Top class celebrity chefs, including Nigella Lawson, Rick Stein, Levi Roots, Ken Hom, Thane Prince, Jo Pratt, Angela Hartnett and BBC Masterchef winner Mat Follas are also showing their support for Tea For Victory by creating recipes to inspire the nation. People can read these and hear more from the chefs about why they are getting involved, by visiting www.prostatecanceruk.org/tearecipes.
Competitions & Fun
Win a set of Quartet goodies - plus the DVD and Soundtrack!
Discover a warm, fun and bittersweet look at growing old disgracefully, orchestrated by a British ensemble of acting maestros, as the number one UK box office smash hit comedy QUARTET comes to Blu-Ray, DVD and digital download on 6 May 2013.
To celebrate the release, we are offering four lucky winners the chance to win a Quartet merchandise bundle which includes: a DVD, a soundtrack by Decca records, a branded gardening set and 4 packs of plant and vegetable seeds! Each pack of seeds is matched to a character. Varieties include Cayenne pepper, Tomato, Sunflower and Poppy.
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
Active life for a healthier you
Active Life is a collective of friendly, knowledgeable and experienced health and fitness professionals, all of whom share a passion for helping people develop and maintain a healthier lifestyle.
Based in Southend on Sea, Essex, our activities range from gentle yoga, relaxation and pilates to circuit training, exercise to music, keep fit, dance classes, running groups and Nordic walking.
We cater for all abilities, working mainly with Adults aged 50 and over but also tots to teens, mums, dads, and whole family groups.
Property & Finance
New EU Tax Would Hit Millions Of Pensioners And Investors
The EU's controversial Financial Transactions Tax (FTT) would "hit the pensions and investments of millions of hard working people" and would not exclusively target "so-called City fat cats," warns the boss of the world's largest independent financial advisory firm.
Leisure and Lifestyle
Take the 20p test for safe motoring
Most UK motorists are pretty clueless when it comes to tyre tread safety, a new survey has revealed.
The vast majority of motorists are simply unaware of the absolute minimum legal tyre tread depth for their cars or vans.
In a new nationwide survey by the breakdown service Autonational Rescue, just 38% of motorists knew that the correct minimum legal tyre tread depth is in fact 1.6 millimetres.
Flying the flag for the best English beaches
Keep Britain Tidy names England’s 147 award-winning beaches for 2013
From Whitley Bay to Clacton, Margate to Torbay, England boasts some of the best and cleanest beaches in the world.
Today, Keep Britain Tidy is announcing the winners of the 2013 Blue Flag and Seaside Awards. In total 55 beaches have gained the Blue Flag and 113 have picked up the new Seaside Award (formerly Quality Coast Award).
Have you noticed that that those advocating rises in pension levels to absurd levels like this are all very much younger and have no experience of the ageing process?