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Helpful new guidance on legislation and best practice is available for businesses installing renewable energy, green heating and energy saving measures in domestic premises

Business Companion has launched a new guide for traders in the domestic energy-efficiency sector, offering practical information about how they can make the most of the opportunities represented by the UK’s push to net-zero carbon emissions.

As more people across the UK install energy-efficiency devices in their homes under the multibillion-pound net zero initiative, there will be a growing need for businesses equipped and qualified to meet demand.

To protect consumers – and to ensure that devices being installed in their homes such as heat pumps, solar panels and batteries are suitable, functional and environmentally sound – there is a need for traders operating in this space to be aware of their responsibilities under consumer protection legislation.

Since the domestic energy-efficiency sector involves operating in people’s homes and selling technology with which many consumers are likely to be unfamiliar, there is a particular need to be aware of issues relating to consumer vulnerability, and guide has a focus on this.

The guide is divided into three parts. Part 1 looks at promotion, explaining the practices that businesses should avoid around energy-efficiency performance claims, marketing and advertising. It also gives an overview of the relevant aspects of consumer protection law and provides useful links to the trade bodies and consumer codes that operate in the domestic energy sector.

Part 2 of the guidance discusses how businesses should engage with consumers before, during and after the installation of domestic energy-efficiency measures. This includes practical guidance on what information should be included in a contract, descriptions of practices that should be avoided, as well as tips on how a business should provide after-sales service to ensure that customers are happy and satisfied.

To help businesses deal with situations in which customers are not satisfied, Part 3 of the guidance outlines the complaints and redress processes traders should follow, including effective complaints handling procedures and the role of Trading Standards in helping to resolve disputes between businesses and consumers.

The guidance concludes with links to additional useful resources such as the relevant industry standards, the Green Claims Code and the CMA’s consumer guidance on buying green heating and insulation products, as well as links to the full legislation discussed elsewhere in the guide.

Like all Business Companion guidance, Domestic energy saving has been written to be clear, concise and practical, and is suitable for businesses of all sizes that need to quickly find accurate and reliable answers to issues they may face while going about their work.

Business Companion is a Government-backed service provided by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI).

John Herriman, Chief Executive of CTSI, said: “Businesses, consumers and bodies such as Trading Standards all have a role to play in making the UK’s transition to net zero run smoothly and effectively. It is in everybody’s interest to ensure that the practices businesses follow are lawful and honest.

“The domestic energy saving sector has previously been subject to misleading and exaggerating claims, which in the short-term leave consumers vulnerable to being exploited and undermines confidence in the net zero agenda, and in the long term do more harm than good in efforts to create a more environmentally sustainable society.

“This guidance has been designed to help businesses avoid common mistakes, and it provides some really useful tips on how businesses can build a strong reputation and make the most of the opportunities that come with good customer service and honest business practices.”

To view the guidance or download the PDF booklet, click here.

Business Companion is a free online information resource operated by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) with the support of the Department for Business and Trade. It hosts a wealth of information for businesses across a wide variety of sectors, providing accurate, reliable and up-to-date guidance on numerous aspects of consumer law.

Claire Preece