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Consumer protection

We recommend that you choose a certified system and a certified installer. Both the system and the installer will have to be accredited under the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) for you to be eligible under the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) scheme or the domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI).

For advice on certified products and installers available in your area:

 

Here are some schemes that help to protect consumers with renewable installations: 

Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS)

Microgeneration Certification Scheme

The government has worked with industry to develop the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS), to ensure the quality of renewable technology installations and products. The scheme sets industry standards for installers of small-scale renewable energy technologies. It demonstrates that an installer can install to the highest quality every time, using products that have met rigorous testing standards.

To check that your installer is MCS certified, search for them on the MCS website or call Home Energy Scotland on 0808 808 2282.

It is mandatory for all MCS members to be registered with a Trading Standards Institute (TSI) Consumer Codes Approval Scheme (CCAS).

Presently the Renewable Energy Consumer Code (RECC), the Home Insulation and Energy System Contractors scheme and the Glass and Glazing Federation consumer code are the only TSI registered schemes available.

 

Solar Key Mark

Supported by the European Solar Thermal Industry Federation, Solar Keymark certifies compliance of a product with the relevant European standards and is the official European benchmark for solar panels and systems.

Products that have been certified under Solar Keymark should also be eligible for the domestic Renewable Heat Incentive.

 

Renewable Energy Consumer Code (RECC)

The Renewable Energy Consumer Code (RECC) was set up by the Renewable Energy Association. It operates under the Consumer Code Approval Scheme run by the Trading Standards Institute. The aim of RECC is to ensure that consumers wishing to install a small-scale renewable heat or power generation system for their home have the necessary confidence and service standards so they can make an informed choice.

The Code sets out high standards in relation to consumer protection, and requires installers to provide protection for deposit payments and workmanship warranties. The Code ensures that MCS-certified installers:

  • are forbidden to use high-pressure selling or inducement to force quick buying decisions
  • provide consumers with a seven-day cooling-off period regardless of the method of sale
  • explain certain information to consumers both in writing and verbally
  • give realistic estimates of the likely performance of the product in a way that can be understood by consumers
  • provide a workmanship warranty for a minimum of two years

The information above has been provided by RECC.

To check that your installer is a member of the Renewable Energy Consumer Code you can access a member directory on the RECC website or call RECC on 0207 981 0850.

For more information about the Renewable Energy Consumer Code, go to the RECC website.

 

The Home Insulation & Energy Systems Contractors Scheme

The Home Insulation & Energy Systems Contractors Scheme (HIES) ensures that consumers are dealt with professionally, courteously and sympathetically. Any product installed by HIES members must be fit for purpose, installed professionally and come with comprehensive guarantees which are underwritten with HIES approves specialist insurance providing consumers with a high level of protection and peace of mind.

HIES also allows consumers to have a free access to robust dispute resolution and therefore, free mediation, free independent inspections to assist with installation or product malfunctions (at HIES discretion) and free access to the Ombudsman to help resolve any issues that may arise.

To that end, HIES scheme rules and code of practice is a stringent set of rules and a ‘Modus Operandi’ that members must adhere to at all times in their dealings with consumers. The code has been approved by the Trading Standards Consumer Code Approval Scheme (CCAS).

Other Benefits to consumers using HIES accredited members:

  • Fully Vetted and Accredited Installers (to provide reassurance)
  • Free Consumer Advice Line: 0800 505 3412
  • Free Deposit Protection (up to 25% of the contract value)
  • Free Insurance Backed Guarantee (for every customer)

The information above has been provided by HIES.

To check if your installer is a member of HIES call 0344 324 5242 or visit the HIES Website.

 

The Glass and Glazing Federation (GGF) Consumer Code

The Glass and Glazing Federation (GGF) created the Consumer Code of Practice which is followed by GGF Member companies who sell directly to consumers. The code is approved by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) under the Consumer Code Approval Scheme (CCAS).

By using a GGF Member company you are guaranteed to be dealing with a firm that: 

  • has financial stability and has been trading for a minimum of 3 years
  • has been vetted and has premises, products and employees fit for purpose
  • employs trained professionals to ensure your installation is to the highest technical standards as outlined by the GGF Glazing Manual
  • complies with the GGF Consumer Code of Practice and ensures they operate in line with relevant consumer legislation
  • is regularly audited to ensure their compliance with GGF Rules and this Consumer Code
  • offers you free automatic deposit protection using the GGF Deposit Indemnity Fund
  • offers you free access to the GGF Conciliation Scheme in the unlikely event of a dispute with a GGF Member company
  • offers you transferrable warranties – should you sell your property, you can advise the buyer that the guarantee can be transferred over to them by the Member Company who fitted your products for a reasonable fee

Learn more about the consumer protection offered by GGF Members in the free GGF Consumer Code of Practice booklet.

The information above has been provided by GGF.

To check if your installer is a member of GGF, visit the GGF consumer website, MyGlazing.com.

 

Other links

There are more details on consumers' legal rights in the consumer rights section of the government's Directgov site.

Once you have installed your renewable energy system, please leave a review of your installer on the Renewable Installer Finder.