Homeowners who have recently been missold spray foam insulation are being warned to be wary of letters and cold callers offering to remove it.

At the start of 2024, Trading Standards Scotland issued a warning about spray foam insulation, following a 42% rise in scams related to the product in 2023, with Scottish homeowners losing a total of £500,000 to insulation scams in 2023 alone.

Hundreds of consumers had been cold called and offered a ‘free’ loft survey. Those who agreed subsequently discovered that the ‘surveyors’ were in fact salespeople who tried to pressure them into buying spray foam insulation. Some banks have warned that they could reject mortgage applications on homes that have spray foam insulation. There have been several reports of homeowners having difficulty trying to sell a property, take out a mortgage or release equity from a property with foam insulation.

Now, some homeowners who were misled into having spray foam insulation installed in their properties are now being contacted by companies who say they are working in partnership with trading standards to inspect or remove the insulation.

Trading Standards Scotland has concerns that individuals who originally misled consumers into having spray foam insulation installed may now be contacting them under another business name. There has been an increase in traders proactively making contact and offering to inspect properties where spray foam insulation has been installed. If homeowners agree to an inspection, they are typically then told that roofing repairs are required or that there are issues with damp which require the insulation to be removed at great additional cost. Some insinuate a connection with trading standards in an attempt to appear legitimate.

A letter seen by TSS refers to recent media reports about the misselling of spray foam insulation and says:

“Evidence suggests that properties with this type of insulation may be at risk of damp penetration to the roof structure, which poses a significant threat to property integrity and potential issues with mortgageability and insurability in the future.

“To address this issue and ensure your property’s safety and insurability, we propose a thorough assessment… We urge prompt access to your property for this vital assessment.”

One couple who had spray foam insulation installed in 2023 received a similar letter. They called the number provided and were subsequently visited by a man who said his company had been chosen by trading standards to remove the insulation. He provided a quote of £5,600.

Another couple in a similar situation were advised that their insulation would need to be removed immediately as it had not been installed properly and that the whole roof would need to be replaced and recoated. They quoted £12,000 to remove the insulation and re-coat the roof.

Fiona Richardson, Chief Officer of Trading Standards Scotland, said:

“Trading Standards services are not currently working with any spray foam removal companies in Scotland. Any communication suggesting otherwise is likely to be a scam.

“Consumers who feel they have been misled into having spray foam insulation installed should avoid responding to letters or cold callers offering to remove the insulation.

“We advise consumers in this situation to report any unsolicited letters which mention a partnership with trading standards to Advice Direct Scotland.”

Consumers can find companies and traders who have been vetted by Trading Standards and who have made a commitment to treat their customers fairly at www.approvedtrader.scot.
Legitimate installers can be found via the Energy Savings Trust’s Renewables Installer Finder at https://installerfinder.energysavingtrust.org.uk/

Consumers can contact Home Energy Scotland via www.homeenergyscotland.org or by calling 0808 808 2282 to have an impartial assessment carried out on their property. Home Energy Scotland are funded by the Scottish Government to provide free and impartial advice on energy efficiency measures.

Scam letters or calls should be reported to Advice Direct Scotland on 0808 164 6000 or through their website: www.consumeradvice.scot.