Don’t get conned – get comparative quotes!

You’d think the message had gotten through about getting comparative quotes for home improvements before choosing a company but research by Sainsbury’s Insurance reveals different.
An unbelievable 6.2 million people have employed ‘cowboy traders’ in the past 5 years, resulting in £3.7 billion being paid out to rectify botched jobs.
But the mind-boggling statistics don’t stop there.
Only 36% of people engaging a home improvement tradesman or company bothered to get comparative quotes and only 31% asked for a formal written quote!
An average of £2077 was paid by homeowners to ‘cowboys’  for work that was bad, shoddy or downright dangerous and in need of rectifying, which on average added a further £600 to put right.
Over 150,000 people are estimated to have paid over £5000 to put right a botched improvement.
The advice is to always get comparative quotes, check firms or individuals relevant qualifications and trade accreditations and get a detailed quote in writing before engaging a company or individual.
Asking neighbours or reading previous customer reviews can also be helpful – especially if you’re new to an area and don’t know which tradesmen can be trusted.
Home Improvement Quotes offer instant online quotes for over 17 different home improvement projects before giving you access to over 2,500 local and national tradesmen, who’ll be able to access your particular project and offer an honest, no obligation quote.
photo credit: larry lamsa
This story appeared in our weekly homeowner newsletter dated 19th September 2011. Click here to read the full newsletter.

Solar Panel Installers – the new double glazing cowboys?

With any new technology, there’s always a few ‘opportunists’ that are only to happy to quote maximum price for minimum quality whilst glossing over the facts – in the case of solar panels, the likely performance and realistic pay-back periods.

Add a Government incentive – in this case, the feed-in tariffs, and you’ve got yourself a sure-fire recipe for rogue traders to come out of the woodwork.

If you’re interested in getting your own solar panel installation, the question is what can you do to protect yourself?

Actually, the rules are the same as if you were buying double glazing (or any other home improvement for that matter).

Firstly, never buy ‘off the doorstep’. Cold calling is ripe for a cowboy to talk you into parting with money there and then. You should never have to ‘accompany’ any home improvement company to the bank or hole-in-the-wall machine to withdraw any amount of money.

Never let cold-callers into your home. Their credentials could be fake and they could just be thieves or distraction burglars.

Don’t sign anything until you’re completely happy – don’t be pressured into signing there and then. If the company is genuine, then they’ll want you to consider your quote in your own time.

Always try and get comparison quotes on like for like systems. That way, you’ll know if you’re being overcharged or you’ve got a bargain.

If it sounds to good to be true, it usually is. Never a truer word spoken and with a technology that can be very difficult to quantify for the average man on the street, comparing different quotes will hopefully give you the confidence to choose the right company / installation for your family.

Solar Panel Quoter was set up, like its double glazing counterpart Window Quoter, to drive out the rogue traders, by offering genuine online quotes without the need for a salesman to call round. Later, if you decide that you’d like to get that quote confirmed in writing, we can use our computer technology to match your location and system requirements with up to 3 genuine companies in your area.

They’ll arrange to call round, discuss the type and size of installation you’re interested in and leave you with a no-obligation written quote.

You’ll receive an email from us before hand, confirming the details of the companies we’ve passed your details onto so you can see (online) their contact details, feedback from previous homeowners who used them and have the opportunity to leave your own feedback – good, bad or indifferent, once they’ve called on you.

Solar panels represent the opportunity to lower your energy bills, whilst getting paid for the electricity you generate. Not all properties will be suitable for solar energy (location, roof direction and overhanging obstructions are the main reasons for non-suitability), however later this year, the Governments Renewable Heat Incentives will come into force rewarding renewable heat technologies like hot water solar panels and ground source heat pumps.

Click here to get your instant online solar panel quote now.

*The ‘Quoter family of websites have been helping homeowners for over 10 years by providing instant online quotes backed up with a national database of quality installation companies. We help over 3,000 homeowners every week with our ‘Quoter websites and were the first company to introduce online pricing for double glazing.

For more renewable energy stories, don’t forget to check out our Renewable Energy Blog – updated daily.

This story first appeared in our January 31st homeowner newsletter – click here to read the full newsletter.