Published on 2 - August - 2012
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has issued a report on the home insulation market calling for the Government and others to improve consumer protection and encourage more competition and choice in the sector.
OFT publishes report on home insulation market
In April this year the OFT issued a call for evidence in response to a high level of consumer complaints about home insulation. It wanted to carry out a quick review ahead of the introduction of the Green Deal and Energy Company Obligation (ECO) policies, which could increase the take-up of energy efficiency measures.
While gathering evidence for its report, the OFT received complaints that some traders are not always installing the most suitable form of insulation, for example, by using inappropriate materials. It also heard that consumers can find it difficult to obtain quick and effective action when things go wrong.
As a result, the OFT is recommending that the Government should give a single body responsibility for longer-term monitoring of the quality of installations carried out under the ECO and Green Deal initiatives. It is also proposing changes to improve redress schemes.
In addition, the OFT found that there are only a small number of manufacturers who supply home insulation products and complaints have been received about the length of time it can take for new products to be approved for use in the market. To help manufacturers trying to develop innovative new products and encourage greater competition and choice in the market, the OFT recommends that product certification bodies improve their certification processes. It is also encouraging architects, building control officers and other building project commissioners to be more receptive to specifying products from more than one UK product certification body.
As part of a wider energy efficiency project looking at products like double glazing, solar panels and boilers as well as insulation, the OFT also reviewed almost 4,000 contacts made by consumers to Consumer Direct in 2011 and 2012. This highlighted recurring issues such as confusing and defective paperwork, potentially aggressive and misleading sales techniques and concerns over the quality of products and services. The OFT says that it will continue to monitor such issues and will look to address them, working with local authority Trading Standards Services and others.
Nisha Arora, OFT director of services, infrastructure and public markets, said: "The home insulation sector is now worth some £700 million and it is important that people receive good quality, well-installed insulation that makes their homes more energy efficient.
"We hope that the recommendations in this report and our continuing work in this sector will encourage greater competition and choice and give consumers increased confidence to have insulation installed," she added.
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