SPECIAL INVESTIGATION: Outrage as Derbyshire customers are left hundreds of pounds out of pocket by energy firm
Customers have told of their outrage after being left hundreds of pounds out of pocket by an energy-saving company.
Tivium Limited charges up to £299 to assess homes for eco-friendly improvements – including new boilers – as part of the Government’s Green Deal scheme.
The Derbyshire Times can today reveal how customers – backed by Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins – feel they have been treated “appallingly” by the firm.
After being cold called by Tivium in September, pensioners Michael and Jacqueline Taylor agreed to pay £299 for an assessment for a new boiler.
However, the couple soon became suspicious of the company after reading comments from other customers online.
Two days later, and well within the 14-day cooling-off period, they contacted Tivium to ask for a refund.
Nearly three months later, however, Mr and Mrs Taylor are still waiting for their money back.
Mr Taylor, 73, of Barton Crescent, Chesterfield, said: “We don’t deserve to be in this situation – I wish we hadn’t fallen for this.
“£299 is a lot of money and we just want it back.
Mr Taylor said he had received a letter from Tivium promising a refund.
Tivium apologised to Mr Taylor and said he had not yet received his refund because of an “administration error”.
Another customer, Judi Combe, was approached by a Tivium saleswoman who said she was eligible for free solar panels on her home.
After paying £299 for an assessment which was carried out, Mrs Combe later decided she wanted her money back – but Tivium has refused to refund her.
Judi, 62, of Hady Crescent, Chesterfield, said: “I feel very angry I’ve been taken advantage of.”
Tivium said: “Mrs Combe would not be entitled to a refund as she has received her Green Deal assessment and a report which is what is covered in the £299.”
The Green Deal is a Government programme to improve the energy efficiency of homes by offering loans to pay for eco-friendly measures.
The loans are repaid through savings made on electricity bills.
The town’s MP Mr Perkins said: “£299 is a massive amount of money for anyone and my constituents quite rightly want that money back.
“I have now written to the Energy Secretary, Ed Davey, to ask him what the Government will do to stop companies like Tivium abusing the Green Deal programme to mislead people and take their money under false pretences.”
A spokesman for Derbyshire Trading Standards added: “Reputable companies do not usually advertise for business by calling at your home uninvited or cold calling via the telephone.
“They’ll also explain your consumer rights which rogue traders will not do.
“If you receive an unsolicited call from any business offering this kind of scheme, our advice is to ignore it and do not agree to a visit.”
Tivium’s website states: “Tivium is no longer accepting new customers.”
• Anyone from Chesterfield who is struggling to get a refund from Tivium can contact Mr Perkins on 01246 386286. If you have a complaint or concerns about a company’s trading practices, call the Citizens’ Advice consumer service helpline on 08454 04 05 06.