Wellsford residents warned of dodgy insulation salesman

Wellsford residents are warning their neighbours to be on the lookout for potentially predatory sales tactics by door-to-door salesmen selling home insulation.

One elderly couple was quoted $5300 for floor and ceiling insulation, when in reality the job could be done for $1300.

Their son, Gary Heaven, intervened after noticing that the quote was much higher than one he had received for a similar rental property.

“We were having a similar-sized 1970s Keith Hay home insulated and were quoted $2800 by a local company without any kind of discount or grant,” he says.

Residents who spoke to Mahurangi Matters reported that a company from outside the area has been aggressively pitching its product at the door, telling householders they are eligible for significant government rebates.

However, the company that has been door knocking in Wellsford is not on the Government’s Energy

Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) list of approved providers for insulation and, therefore, cannot offer grants.

Quotes from the company provided by residents to Mahurangi Matters show high prices that have a 15 per cent discount applied on the bottom line, labelled as a ‘subsidy’.

Genuine rebates from the EECA cover two-thirds of the cost of insulation, which is why Gary’s parents were entitled to much higher discounts than those offered to them by the door-knocking company.

“My parents are not internet aware, and so in my opinion there isn’t enough information out there for them to make an informed decision.”

One Wellsford woman, who was approached by a door knocking salesman, said she was told that if she gave her phone number, and agreed to have someone call to organise an appointment to talk through pricing, she would go in the draw to win $500.

“When the man arrived, he wanted to measure up the whole house straight away, and I was quite uncomfortable,” she said.

“I said I’m not going to sign anything until my husband gets here because we hadn’t decided yet. He said, ‘Oh no, you just sign your bit and when your husband arrives we will get him to sign his bit’.”

When the woman told the salesman that she was only interested in having her daughters’ rooms insulated, she was told the company wouldn’t send a tradesman just to do two rooms and she wouldn’t be eligible for a grant unless the whole house was done.

In the end, she was quoted about $7400 to insulate her floor and walls with the understanding that the government would pay a $5000 grant, leaving her only $2400 to pay.

“We said no.”

EECA Warmer Kiwi Homes manager Eddie Thompson says the easiest way for homeowners to protect themselves is to check the grant eligibility tool at warmerkiwis.govt.nz.

“If a company, which is a contracted installer, approaches homeowners with door-to-door sales, they will need to take the homeowner through the eligibility tool. That is a safeguard for homeowners to ensure the company is contracted to EECA,” Mr Thompson said.

Those who do not have internet access can call 0800 749 782.

The grants are available to any homeowner with a community services card, as well as residents of areas identified as low income, including parts of Wellsford, Te Hana, Maungaturoto and Kaiwaka.

The approved insulation providers in North Auckland are Smart Energy Solutions, GreenStar Energy Solutions, Eco Insulation Systems Ltd, G-Force and Terra Lana.

In Northland, it is Healthy Homes Tai Tokerau and Smart Energy Solutions.

The EECA website says owners can expect to pay $1000-$1400 for ceiling and floor insulation in a 100sqm house.

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