How will potential solar panel subsidy cuts affect you?

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Big cuts to the subsidies that have encouraged the installation of solar panels are mooted by government.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) is in the process of reviewing the whole feed-in tariff (FIT) structure which govern household solar energy.

To see whether the proposals may affect you the article can be viewedb in its entirety here:

http://www.theguardian.com/money/2015/jul/22/how-solar-panel-subsidy-cuts-affect-you-installation

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Scamp, Yo-Yo and Phoebe sniff out the goods yet again!

Illegal cigarette raids July 2015

Northamptonshire Trading Standards, with a little help from their colleagues Scamp, Yo-Yo and Phoebe, have uncovered more than 1,000 concealed packets of illegal cigarettes and 100 pouches of tobacco.

See the article here:

http://www.northantstelegraph.co.uk/news/crime/crime-news/sniffer-dogs-help-uncover-more-than-1-000-packets-of-illegal-cigarettes-in-a-series-of-raids-in-northamptonshire-1-6875391

We may be out and about sooner than you think with our nosey friends so illegal sellers beware!

No further government funding for The Green Deal and big changes to grants

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The Green Deal Finance Company (GDFC), which administers the Green Deal scheme, will no longer offer loans to consumers.

The Green Deal is a flagship scheme set up by the government to make properties more energy efficient by encouraging homeowners to install energy-saving measures such as insulation, double-glazing and new boilers. A loan would be taken out against the property and the repayments offset by savings to energy bills. Existing loans with the GDFC will not be affected and loans will be continued to be repaid as normal. Applications for loans made before 3.30pm on Thursday 23 July will be processed as ususal, as long as there are no large errors in them which may affect the application. The government state that as the Green Deal Framework is still in place and other finance providers could come forward if they wish to enter the market.

The Green Deal Home Improvement Fund (GDHIF), which pays up to £1850 towards the cost of installing two types of energy efficiency measures will also close to applications on 30th September 2015 or when the remaining £4 million of funding runs out – whichever sooner. Existing applications and vouchers are not affected.

Government pulls plug on Green Deal – Money Saving Expert<!—->// //

The Energy Company Obligations (ECO) scheme, which was launched alongside the Green Deal and gives grants to low-income households and people living in older properties, will continue to run until March 2017 – its future after that is under review.

Rogue burglar alarm firms cost the Midlands almost £93,000 last year

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Your house may be a bit safer from intruders but your bank account certainly won’t be if you deal with rogue security alarm outfits.

Central England Trading Standards Authorities (CENTSA) have announced that they received 116 complaints about these con artists last year, with a loss resulting to consumers of £92,296. However, the problem is going to be considerably worse as only a small percentage of people actually inform Trading Standards of their concerns.

So, how does the scam work? The consumer is normally cold called by telephone and told that the trader is part of an ‘Official Crime Reduction’ campaign. Totally spurious, of course.They will then offer ‘free’ or highly subsidised alarms and ask to come to the consumer’s house to discuss the matter further. A high pressure sales pitch usually follows with nonsense such as the ‘special offer’ ends today or the trader is only in the area for a short time. Victims sign up to the alarm system and over the next months are hit by high monitoring and maintenance costs. The ‘free’ system can end up costing the consumer thousands of pounds.

See the article here:

http://redditchstandard.co.uk/news/alert-raised-over-rogue-security-alarm-fitters-12324/

If you think these people are operating within Solihull please call us on 03454 04 05 06 so we can stop victims being misled.

£93,000 of scam mail victims’ money found in only ONE depot

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A search at a depot in Harrow, London, has uncovered a haul that truly represents the sheer scale of scam fraud that is confronting the UK. 6,000 letters stuffed with cheques, postal orders and cash to the total value of £93,000 was found inside. The letters were bound to countries such as United States, Switzerland and the Netherlands. This is just ONE place in the UK – the full picture of how deep scam fraud is penetrating the elderly and vulnerable in our country is just utterly frightening.

Read the article here:

http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/more-93000-victims-money-been-6138452

If you suspect that you yourself have become a victim of this crime or are concerned about any friends or family members PLEASE call us on 03454 04 05 06.

Five arrested as crackdown on fake government websites intensifies

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We have blogged numerous times about the proliferation of fake government websites that lure in the unsuspecting, innocent victim. Professional looking websites and VERY similar web addresses serve to dupe people into parting with their cash for services that are very often entirely free.

Trading Standards are fighting back against these criminals. The National Trading Standards eCrime Team, tasked with confronting the vast spectre of internet fraud, recently raided four properties across the UK and 5 suspects have been arrested. The team have also suspended at least 25 fake websites.

Over 5,000 complaints were made to Citizens Advice last year about copycat websites. Most complaints related to driving licenses, passports or tax returns.

Be vigilant against these scams. See the full article here:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/07/07/five_arrests_copycat_uk_gov_sites/

Monkspath door knocker tries to con resident

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Solihull Trading Standards have just received a report from the Monkspath area of the borough about a man who was knocking on doors last Friday afternoon claiming to be from a legitimate driveway company.

The man had seen that the real company were laying a drive in the area and decided to knock on a neighbour’s door to offer to also lay a new drive for him. He gave a verbal quote and when the homeowner asked for his contact details he just pointed to the board of the legitimate company and said ‘I work for them.’ He has no connection with the company whatsoever. Luckily, no money was handed over and the work was agreed for a later date. The homeowner was given no cancellation paperwork and, therefore, no contract exists in law. The quoted price was also more than two times what the real company would have charged!

We advised the resident to contact us if the man reappears on the agreed date or to call the police if he feels threatened in any way.

The man was described as in his fifties, short and tubby with greying hair. He had a distinctive Irish accent and was wearing a bright orange ‘high vis’ jacket.

Please do your homework before agreeing to ANYTHING on the doorstep. Please contact us if you have any doubts about the identity of a caller on 03454 04 05 05. Also, always remember that traders must give you written paperwork. A verbal agreement on your door is illegal

Woman fined £1500 for illegal sale of puppies

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A Peterborough woman has been prosecuted and fined for offering two puppies for sale after importing them from Lithuania. The puppies did not have the correct paperwork and were too young to be sold.

See the article here:

http://www.peterboroughtoday.co.uk/news/latest-news/woman-fined-for-illegally-selling-dogs-in-peterborough-1-6863591

£46,000 for nothing

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A Cumbrian man has been the victim of a £46,000 timeshare scam.

Solihull Trading Standards often see the insidiousness of these criminals. The man was targeted again by a ‘company’ purporting to be a legal firm offering to recover his losses.

This is a regular occurrence. We have dealt with several people who have been mercilessly pursued by fraudsters and have lost hundreds of thousands of pounds. These people prey on vulnerability and will NEVER stop in draining every last penny from their victims.

The article can be accessed below. PLEASE call us if you have any concerns that your friends or family may have been victims of these criminals. Our number is 03445 04 05 06. 

http://www.cumbriacrack.com/2015/05/14/whitehaven-man-scammed-out-of-46000-by-spanish-fraudsters/

£20,000 haul of illegal cigarettes seized from a greengrocer – he used them to pay his workers!

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A South Tyneside greengrocer has been fined for having a £20,000 stash of illegal cigarettes. He admitted to using them as payment for his staff in lieu of cash.

On top of the £530 fine he was advised by the judge to ‘stick to the fruit and veg’ in the future….

See the article here:

http://www.shieldsgazette.com/news/crime/greengrocer-used-20-000-illegal-cigarette-haul-to-pay-his-workers-1-7369150