Just had an overseas call-centre call me about grants to replace an off-gas broken boiler – eligible under the Help-to-Heat part of ECO for people on qualifying benefits. Helping people facing fuel poverty to meet the cost of sorting out their broken-down boiler…or not as this article will hopefully make clear!

It’s a sad indictment of the ECO industry that the Help-to-Heat / Affordable Warmth obligation will be met in no small part by leads generated in this way.

 

Call centre operative said he was calling on behalf of:

Direct Grant Organisation/ ECO funds

Website: UKboilergrants dot org dot uk (don’t want a link to them on my site) referred to below as “UKBG”.

This is how the call went:

UKBG: Initial intro stuff followed by:

UKBG: Do you have a boiler there that is more than 6 years old?
ME: YES

UKBG:Are you on any benefits? Pension credit, working tax credit..

ME: MY DAD LIVES HERE. HE GETS PENSION CREDIT.

UKBG: What fuel do you use? Is it oil, solid fuel….
ME: ITS NOT GAS, YEAH OIL

UKBG: Good sir, then your property has been assessed as eligible for a free new boiler grant.
ME: OK

UKBG: What sort of house is it?
ME: DETACHED, 4 bed
UKBG: Good, and definitely on pension credit?
ME:YES. DOES MY BOILER NEED TO BE BROKEN?

UKBG: No sir

ME:WHAT IF IT IS A CONDENSING OIL BOILER THAT IS WORKING PERFECTLY?
UKBG: That is OK still

Operative finishes by taking address and my best tel no plus a special codeword from me so I know the next caller is from them…

This “qualified lead” is now set to be sold on to a deal closer or an installation company, perhaps it will be sold more than once?

I await a call from the poor mug(s) that buys it. I hope that UK Boiler Grants will at least swap it out for a genuine lead…

Does anyone reading this think that the buyer of leads like this can make an honest living going round and surveying properties identified like this?

No effort whatsover was made to qualify whether the boiler was broken!

A grant for a 6 year old condensing boiler is not a problem!

Call me cynical but the only way I see to make money if you buy this sort of lead is to play extremely fast and loose with the rules about which boilers should be replaced under the Help-to-Heat scheme.

Contrast the above with the poor single mother on qualifying benefits that called ECO Matters just a few days before Christmas with a broken boiler, 2 kids and no hot water. She had a gas boiler unfortunately. Call centres like the one that just called me had got so many leads for broken down gas boilers by December 2016 that the rules had been revised making funding for gas boiler replacement very scarce indeed. I was unable to assist that lady who was in genuine need of Affordable Warmth funding.

For the record the telephone number I was called on belongs to a new-build house dating from 2015. Not much chance of finding an off-gas broken boiler here!

Whoever supplied the telemarketing data should have been able to work this out.

The Help-to-Heat part of ECO2t equates to 70% of the overall obligation so those in off-gas postcode areas will be getting more calls like this.

I see that RiR clawbacks are filtering out this week. Very unfair for the honest installers that have done the job properly and in good faith. I hear stories of many other installers that are no longer around to have monies clawed back.

Come on Ofgem, ECO is a key environmental policy, surely it can be managed better than this?