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Published: 20/01/2016

Consumers duped by fraudulent heat pump installation companies

The director of two heat pump installation companies based in West Sussex has been jailed for six years. Sacha Dixey conned his victims out of more than £122,000.

The investigation was launched by West Sussex County Council Trading Standards after they received almost 100 complaints. Mr Dixey’s companies failed to install heat pump systems having taken payment, and failed to refund deposits to those who had cancelled within seven days.

During the sales process, Mr Dixey promised customers that they would be able to receive government grants, however neither of his companies were MCS or RECC members so none of their installations qualified for any government incentives.

The man even duped some customers twice, returning to them under a different name. One of his victim was a blind man. Mr Dixey pleaded guilty to 31 counts under Fraud Act, Companies Act and Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations. He was sentenced to six years in prison, banned from being a company director for 10 years and fined £900.

It sounds like Mr Dixey’s customers received a terrible service and many have paid for a heat pump that they are not seeing any return from. Had Dixey’s companies have been signed up to the Renewable Energy Consumer Code (RECC), his customers would have been guaranteed a high quality experience.

How do I know if a heat pump installer is legitimate?

If you’re looking to buy a heat pump, look for the RECC logo as this shows that the company has agreed to follow the high standards set out in the Code. The Code covers many points of the sales and installation of heat pumps, but some of the most notable are that sales representatives must not use high pressure selling techniques, including coercing customers into purchasing without giving them sufficient opportunity to consider their options. You can also search for members of the RECC by searching their database.

The Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) is a quality assurance scheme that is recognised nationally and supported by the Department of Energy and Climate Change. In order for your heat pump installation to be eligible, amongst other eligibility criteria, both the product and the installation company must be MCS certified.

The Reina Group is an MCS certified heat pump design and installation provider based in Folkestone, Kent. We are also signed up to the RECC. Find out more about our service here.