Help To Buy Window Scam?
Getting financial help with replacing your windows may sound attractive, but customers need to be wary of this common marketing scam. It’s so common, their are over 10 companies in the UK providing Help to buy window “schemes” (Not government related) just to sell your information to window companies.
Who wouldn’t be drawn in by the idea of having their windows replaced for a fraction of the cost? It’s an enticing idea, and many companies even go as far as to say that ‘qualifying homeowners can have new windows & doors installed with absolutely no cost.’ However, we want customers to know that such companies are spreading false information, and making glorified claims in order to gain your business.
A quick google search will tell you that, as of 2019, there are no active Government schemes which will provide help with the replacement of windows or double glazing. From 2013, the government did offer a scheme called the Green Deal. This was a scheme which allowed homeowners to make energy efficient changes to their property, and pay for them in instalments, so as to make it more affordable. However, this scheme quickly failed for a multitude of reasons, one of which being the 7.9-10% APR interest rate that customers were expected to pay on the loan. The scheme closed to new applications in July of 2015, and there has been no replacement since.
As the Green Deal proves, even the Government struggled to implement a project that would help people with window replacement, and yet so many companies are still claiming that they can provide free or very low cost windows to their customers. These ‘htb schemes’ are in no way affiliated with the Government, and thus offer customers little protection when they are inevitably scammed by the company. Their salespeople tell customers contradicting information, and offer ridiculously low offers in order to obtain a home valuation. In reality, their prices are inflated, and the so-called discount is simply a ploy to gain custom.
There are some companies that provide scrappage schemes, where they generate revenue from recycling the materials from your old windows, and thus you get a discount on your new ones. However, this is very different from the idea of a ‘help to buy’ scheme, which often will tell you that you can receive free replacements if you meet their qualifications.
Example of Facebook ads promoting help to buy windows.
Of course, companies have to do what they can to persuade and sell to their customers, but these falsified schemes can be dangerous. They prey on the vulnerable, and particularly the elderly, who are likely to be drawn in by the attractive notion of free, or low cost windows. Salespeople from these companies will exploit such vulnerable people, making them think that they are getting a good deal, when in fact they aren’t. Aside from this, there have been many reports of such companies harassing customers with phone calls, and even selling customer information to other companies. Moreover, when customers have been persuaded that such help to buy schemes and grants are legitimate, it makes it difficult for genuine, honest companies to make revenue, since the customer is convinced that they are getting a worse deal.
Replacing your windows can be expensive, there’s no doubt about it. However, it’s important to remember to do your research, and do not trust companies which offer so-called help to buy schemes or window grants. If you do need assistance with paying for your replacement windows, there are a few legitimate options which you may qualify for:
- The Energy Company Obligation is a scheme which offers assistance to homeowners who want more energy efficient installations in their homes, if they are on certain Governmental assistance programmes, such as Disability Living Allowance or Income-based Jobseekers Allowance.
- Care & Repair is a charity which offers assistance to the elderly in making their homes habitable.
- Home Repairs Assistance is offered to those in extreme circumstances, and again to those receiving Government benefits, or over the age of 60.
If you do not qualify for any of these options, then try and utilise a trustworthy company who are upfront with their costs. Remember that no schemes or grants offered by window companies are authorised or sanctioned by the Government, and thus offer little protection to the consumer if something goes wrong. Finally, the most important thing to do is to stay educated, and know who and what you’re dealing with.
This is my own personal opinion, this is not aimed at any company, but the help to buy (non government schemes) in general.