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Rogue EPC panels the battle continues

The battle against the rogue EPC panels which have been bringing the energy assessment industry into disrepute is still going on – though sadly with more losers than winners amongst assessors and members of the public at present.

Despite a string of stories about some of these panels in Energy Assessor Magazine, customer continue to sign up with them, and amazingly there are even some assessors who are prepared to go on working for them.

It needs to be emphasised that it is a minority of online EPC panels that cause these problems – most of them operate with no problems – but the problems that minority create for all energy assessors are considerable.

In the past month I have had the usual crop of emails dropping into my inbox from energy assessors who have been fleeced by panels, and this is not because they are dumb. One DEA told me that a panel paid him for the first EPC he did for them, which gave him the confidence to do more.

They then gave him £260 worth of work in a month and by the time he realised they weren’t going to pay it was too late.
That panel was Express-EPC (not to be confused with another existing panel of a similar name), one of the businesses run by rogue EPC panels boss Christopher Whatcott, and sadly I have just learned that his businesses were run by companies, which have been wound up.

Since it also emerged in the past month that he was declared bankrupt earlier this year, there is no possibility now of any of the many assessors owed money by his businesses getting a penny.

He may be out of business for the moment, but the problems go on elsewhere.
During this month I heard from Sylvia in Manchester who was conned out of her fee for an EPC by PayOnTheDay, the dodgy panel claiming to be at an office in Leicester where they aren’t based and never have been.

She was very happy with the energy assessor who did her EPC assessment, but when she received an EPC it wasn’t for her address and had another assessor’s name on it.
Despite three weeks of phoning and emailing she never did get an EPC from the business she has christened ‘Get Ripped Off On The Day’. Instead she got it from the assessor, and complained to Trading Standards – for all the good that that will be.

An assessor elsewhere agreed to do two EPCs for POTD on condition he received payment before he released the EPCs. That was readily agreed, but after he had done them he found himself coming under increasing pressure to release the EPCs before he got paid. He refused and didn’t get paid.

Another assessor who I know is owed hundreds of pounds by NextDayEPC emailed me because he is now getting harassed by agents and property companies over EPCs he did that NextDay did not supply to his clients.
In both cases these assessors released at least one EPC to a client they felt sorry for, without any payment.

There are clearly a lot of good, decent people within this industry, which makes it all the more galling that the people running these dodgy panels are so easily doing damage to the reputation of the industry.

But the fight goes on…

Written by Terry Wardle, Editor of Energy Assessor Magazine

5 Comments to Rogue EPC panels the battle continues

  1. December 5, 2011 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

    Excellent article, but I have no sympathy for anyone working for these so called panels, 1) the panel takes all the profit 2) for 4 years everyone has moaned and groaned about them, but if people didnt work for them they wouldnt exist and agents and general public would have to go direct 3) the DEA’s I know learnt their lessons years but many DEA’;s keep going back for more and then complain.
    The answer is work direct, get paid first then carry out EPC and lodge, no compliants.
    For those having to rely on panels may I suggest that you should not be working for yourselves.

  2. December 6, 2011 at 1:44 am | Permalink

    Very true and right Andrew, but for some unknown reason DEAs are still keeping these business going with free EPCs. I know a DEA who bid for a £20 job because he was bored, it was his day of from his full-time job !! The amount of rubbish EPCs being produced is a scandal, do those that cant get work use the internet to see what really is going on? and maybe the real reason is that they paid £1000s to be trained and will do anything to get some recompense.

  3. David's Gravatar David
    December 6, 2011 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    You know i qualified in June 2007, I have a steady self employed business at a reasonable rate. I have never bid on these sites for work, as tempting as it maybe. You would get a higher wage working in mcds by the time you have paid your fees. But it has been a very difficult 4 years and if everybody worked together there wouldnt be any more bidding sites. These DEAs wont last because it is impossible.

  4. syd's Gravatar syd
    December 6, 2011 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    Like most other DEA`s i was caught out some time ago and now avoid these panels altogether.
    However another problem with formally sound on-line EPC providers is emerging and that is the delay in paying due invoices.
    Despite payment terms being thirty days I now have examples where they run into 90days plus.

  5. Graham Tapper's Gravatar Graham Tapper
    December 6, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    There’s only one panel for whom I have ever done work and which has always dealt with me honestly and which has paid up promptly and that’s UK-EPC. All others, I wouldn’t touch with a bargepole.

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