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How to complain about your Green Deal energy efficient home improvements

This advice applies to Scotland

If want to complain about Home Energy and Lifestyle Management Ltd (HELMS), you'll need to complain in a different way because they're out of business. Check how to complain about HELMS

You might have the Green Deal if you borrowed money to pay for energy-saving home improvements like solar panels.

If you haven't already, check if you can complain about problems with your Green Deal

This page explains how to complain about your Green Deal. It’s worth complaining because you might be able to get a reduction on your Green Deal or have your debt written off. Take action as soon as possible. 

Step 1 - writing your complaint

You'll need to complain to your Green Deal provider first, unless they're out of business. They'll have their own complaints process but it's likely you'll need to complain in writing. 

Writing your complaint will help you to be clear about what your problems are and how you want things put right. Check problems with your Green Deal for common issues that Green Deal customers have experienced. 

To help you to understand what’s happened and write your complaint, you should: 

  • gather paperwork - including Green Deal statements and product warranties
  • make notes about calls or meetings with Green Deal salespeople - write down what they said or didn’t say about your home improvements and the Green Deal. You can also write down what you thought and said to them
  • make a timeline of events - this can help you remember what happened
  • take pictures - for example of any faulty or damaged home improvements.

Next you should write down your complaint. Make sure you include:

  • what products were sold to you - include your Green Deal plan ID and information about the home improvements that were installed
  • what your Green Deal provider did wrong - write down what they did or didn’t do that they should or shouldn’t have done
  • the effect on you - for example, financial loss, inconvenience, stress or hardship. Include any relevant personal circumstances, like your age or health conditions
  • what you want to happen - explain how you would like things put right
  • evidence - for example, copies of letters, emails, Green Deal paperwork, feed-in tariff paperwork, invoices or receipts. 

What you want to happen will depend on your circumstances. You might want to ask for:

  • products to be repaired or replaced 
  • reduced Green Deal payments 
  • your Green Deal to be written off
  • compensation

You can ask your local Citizens Advice Bureau for help with building your case. 

Step 2 - complain to your Green Deal provider

Once you’ve built your complaint, the next step is to complain to your Green Deal provider and try to resolve your dispute with them. 

If your Green Deal provider is in liquidation, you’ll need to skip to Step 5 - complaining to the secretary of state. You can check if a company is in liquidation on GOV.UK. 

If you were a customer of HELMS, you’ll need to follow a different complaints process. Check how to complain about HELMS

How to complain to your Green Deal provider

You should send a letter or email with the date to your Green Deal provider, setting out your complaint from step 1. 

Send evidence to back up your complaint if you have it - for example, photos of faulty products or bad workmanship. Send copies of paperwork rather than originals. 

Your Green Deal provider’s contact details should be on your energy performance certificate or the contract and paperwork you received from them when the work began. Alternatively, your energy supplier can tell you who your Green Deal provider is.

Keep a copy of your complaint. If you send a letter, get free proof of postage from the post office. 

Your Green Deal provider should respond to your complaint within eight weeks. If they don’t reply or you’re not happy with their reply, move to step 3. 

Step 3 - get a letter of deadlock

A letter of deadlock says that you and the trader have been unable to agree on a solution to your problem. You can use the letter of deadlock to help take your complaint to the next stage - complaining to the Energy Ombudsman.

You won’t be able to get a letter of deadlock if the company is out of business. In this case, move to Step 5

You can ask your Green Deal provider for a letter of deadlock if they:

  • don't sort out your problem in a way you’re happy with
  • reject your complaint 
  • don't reply to you within eight weeks.

Use our example letter to ask for a letter of deadlock [Word 16 kb].

If your Green Deal provider doesn’t reply to your request for a letter of deadlock within a reasonable time, you can still use the Ombudsman Services.

Step 4 - complain to the Energy Ombudsman

The Energy Ombudsman is a free, independent way to solve energy problems.

You can take your complaint to the Energy Ombudsman if your Green Deal provider:

  • hasn’t resolved your complaint to your satisfaction
  • rejects your complaint
  • hasn’t replied within eight weeks.

The ombudsman will only accept complaints that have been raised with the Green Deal provider within the last six years. If you complained to the provider more than six years ago and now want to use the ombudsman, you should contact the ombudsman to explain why and give evidence if you can. The ombudsman will decide if it will deal with your complaint. 

Phone the ombudsman on 0330 440 1624 for advice about how to make a complaint. 

You should set out your complaint in Step 1 and explain what you’ve done so far to try to resolve the complaint, like complaining to your Green Deal provider. Include a copy of the letter of deadlock with your complaint, if you have one.

The ombudsman will try to find a financial or practical solution to your complaint, for example:

  • reducing your Green Deal
  • reaching a settlement figure for you to pay off and cancel your Green Deal 
  • writing-off your Green Deal
  • fixing or replacing items - for example, if there’s an issue with products like solar panels or boilers.

The ombudsman might reject your complaint. If this happens, you can take the complaint to the secretary of state at Step 5

Find out more about Green Deal complaints on the Ombudsman Services website

Getting an offer from the ombudsman

You’ll need to consider if the ombudsman’s solution is right for you and your financial situation. If the solution is a reduction, refund or settlement, check the amounts carefully. 

You can get advice from your local Citizens Advice Bureau. They might have other clients in a similar situation as the Green Deal was often sold to lots of people in the same area. 

If you’re not satisfied with the ombudsman’s decision, you can take your complaint to the secretary of state at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). 

Step 5 - take your issue to the secretary of state

If you’re not satisfied with the ombudsman’s decision or your Green Deal provider is out of business, you can take your complaint to the secretary of state at the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS). BEIS is the part of the UK government responsible for Green Deal. 

BEIS will look at your complaint and decide what to do. They might decide to: 

  • write off your Green Deal
  • reduce your Green Deal
  • award you compensation 
  • offer a settlement figure for you to pay off and cancel your Green Deal 
  • reject your complaint.

How to complain to the secretary of state

You should set out your complaint in Step 1 and explain what you’ve done so far to try to resolve the complaint, like complaining to your Green Deal provider and the Energy Ombudsman. Explain why you're not happy with how the Energy Ombudsman decided your case and what you want BEIS to do to put things right.

Send evidence to back up your complaint - for example, photos of faulty products or bad workmanship. Send copies rather than originals. 

You can write to BEIS using this example letter [Word 16 kb] at:

Green Deal Team
6th Floor
1 Victoria Street
London
SW1H 0ET

Email: gdconsumers@beis.gov.uk

Phone: 020 7215 5000

Your local Citizens Advice Bureau can help you make a complaint. 

Getting a notice of intention

Once BEIS has looked at your complaint, you should get a letter called a notice of intention. 

It can take a few months for BEIS to reply to your complaint. You can phone or email them to check that they got it. 

A notice of intention is not a final decision on your case. It’s a letter telling you what the government’s initial decision is. 

It’s important that you read the letter and understand what BEIS is offering. You need to reply within 30 days to accept the offer, argue for a different outcome or withdraw your complaint. When you read the letter, you should check: 

  • the facts - are the facts and events of your complaint correct?
  • how the Green Deal regulations have been applied - an adviser at your local Citizens Advice Bureau can help you check
  • the proposed decision - this is what the government is offering to do about your case. Check the annexes for more detail, like how any reduction has been calculated.

If you’re not sure what the letter says, get help from your local Citizens Advice Bureau

BEIS might offer to:

  • cancel your Green Deal liability for the credit 
  • reduce your Green Deal payment - check the letter for the amount
  • refund some of your Green Deal payments
  • allow you to pay an amount to cancel your Green Deal - sometimes called a settlement figure
  • reject your complaint.

You’ll need to consider if the offer is right for you. If BEIS is suggesting a reduction, refund or settlement, check that you’re happy with the amounts and that it’s affordable for you. 

You can get advice from your local Citizens Advice Bureau. They might have other clients in a similar situation as Green Deal was often sold to lots of people in the same area. 

Replying to the notice of intention

Once you get the notice of intention, you have 30 days to reply to BEIS. 

You can:

  • accept the offer 
  • argue for a different offer - you might want to do this if you don’t agree with the amount you’re being offered, the facts are wrong or your complaint has been rejected
  • reject the offer and withdraw your complaint. 

If you don’t reply, BEIS will think that you’re accepting the offer. 

If you want to accept the offer

Tell BEIS by letter or email that you accept the offer. Contact details will be on your notice of intention. 

After 30 days you should get a final notice. Follow Step 6

If you want to argue for a different offer

You’ll need to write to BEIS to argue that they should change their decision. This is called 'making representations'. For example, you might be able to argue that BEIS:

  • got the facts wrong
  • didn’t take into account some new evidence you’ve got
  • didn’t apply the Green Deal regulations correctly
  • offered you less than other people in a similar position
  • hasn't reduced your Green Deal enough for the seriousness of your problems.

You’ll need to say what outcome you want instead - for example, for your Green Deal to be cancelled rather than reduced, or reduced more. 

BEIS won’t talk about your case with you - you must put your points in writing. 

Follow the instructions for sending your reply under the 'Representations' section of your notice of intention. Keep a copy of anything you send and get proof of postage.  

You’ll need to send your reply within 30 days of getting your notice of intention. If you think you need more time, you should write to BEIS to ask for an extension. Do this at the same time as preparing your representations. BEIS might give you more time, but they don’t have to. 

BEIS will consider your points and then decide whether to change their decision or keep it the same. There’s no timeframe for how long this will take. 

Once BEIS have made their decision on your case after your representations, you should get a final notice, which is their final decision on your case. Follow Step 6.  

If you want to withdraw your complaint

You should usually only think about withdrawing your complaint if you’ve had an offer from your Green Deal provider that is better than the offer from BEIS. 

Get advice from your local Citizens Advice Bureau before you withdraw your complaint. If you withdraw your complaint, it’s not clear if you can complain again in the future. 

Step 6 - get a final notice from the secretary of state

You’ll get a letter from BEIS called the final notice. This is the government’s final decision on your case. 

The decision may be different from the notice of intention because of the arguments you and your Green Deal provider have made. 

You can:

  • accept the final decision 
  • reject the decision and appeal - your Green Deal provider can also appeal. Appeals must be made to the First-tier Tribunal within 28 days 
  • withdraw your complaint.

You’ll need to consider if the final decision is right for you. If BEIS is suggesting a reduction, refund or settlement, check the amounts carefully.

You can get advice from your local Citizens Advice Bureau. They might have other clients in a similar situation as Green Deal was often sold to lots of people in the same area. 

If you want to accept the offer

You should tell BEIS by letter or email that you accept. If you accept the offer, that is the final say on your case. You won’t be able to reopen your case or appeal. 

If you’ve agreed to a reduction, your Green Deal loan will be reduced by the amount noted in the letter. You should receive an updated Green Deal statement.

If you’re unhappy with the final decision

If you don’t agree with the final notice from BEIS, it’s possible to appeal to the First-tier Tribunal (General Regulatory Chamber). Follow Step 7.

If you want to withdraw your complaint

You should usually only consider withdrawing your complaint if you’ve had an offer from your Green Deal provider that is better than the offer from BEIS. 

Get advice from your local Citizens Advice Bureau before you withdraw your complaint. If you withdraw your complaint, it’s not clear if you can complain again in the future. 

Step 7 - appeal to the First-tier Tribunal

You have 28 days from the date on your final notice letter to lodge your appeal.

Find out more about appealing to the First-tier Tribunal on GOV.UK. You can also read about what happens at a tribunal hearing

Think carefully about whether appealing is the right thing for you. There will be costs, including travel and legal representation if you can’t get free representation. 

You can represent yourself at the tribunal or have someone else represent you. This could be a qualified tribunals representative, a solicitor or an advocate. Your local Citizens Advice Bureau might be able to help you with tribunal representation. You can also check our advice about finding a solicitor

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