Thursday, 13 September 2012

Nationwide Energy Services - Cold calling to keep you warm

Nationwide Energy Services are a call centre based in Swansea.

"Nationwide Energy Services believes that everyone should claim the government grants available for loft insulation and cavity wall insulation" source NES website

Nationwide Energy Services managed to convince the BBC Wales business correspondent that they are an important new employer. They're taking on 350 call centre staff in Swansea to alert home owners that they may be entitled to free govt grants for home insulation.

The money does exist - it comes from the CERT scheme (Carbon Emission Reduction Targets). 

You may be reading this because you are one of the thousands of people Nationwide Energy Services bother every week with their cold telephone calls. Oh the irony - they promise to help keep us warm, but they do it by cold calling!

Nationwide Energy Services phoned my mother yesterday. The salesman told her the 'government usually gives us bu**ger all'. Language like that still surprises my mother, especially when it comes from someone who's phoned her uninvited. She firmly told him she already has loft insulation and doesn't want cavity wall insulation, but somehow he managed to persuade her to reveal her address so a surveyor could call round today.

As soon as she got off the phone she realised she may be the victim of a scam. She knows I have already checked if she is eligible for energy saving grants (she isn't) so this free visit could only end up costing. So she tried to phone Nationwide Energy Services on 0800 408 9000 but after repeated attempts all she got was either music or an announcement saying there is a fault.

Then she spoke to me. I googled the company. Yes they are bonafide agents, who cold call mainly old people setting up appointments for insulation installers. The NES blog says they make 10,000 visits each week resulting in 7,000 installations.

So if Nationwide Energy Services are a bona-fide company ensuring homeowners get their share of govt cash why don't they ever answer their phones?

A web search shows that almost no-one can get through on this number, or any other number NES has phoned them from. This is no doubt because after investing all that time persuading people they need a visit they certainly don't want them to phone back and cancel. Nor would they want to actually have to pay operators to lose them business.

I decided I'd better go round to my mother's in time for the surveyor's visit - planned for between 12 and 3. I didn't make it. She phoned at 11am to say the surveyor had just been.

Fortunately she showed the shabbily turned out man the same respect Nationwide Energy Services showed her - she sent him away with a lecture about how she won't deal with companies that use inappropriate language and don't answer their phones.

The web is awash with tales of bodged jobs, and missed installations, but I'm sure they must have some satisfied customers among those 7,000 weekly installations. 

Some people have received free insulation and been very happy. So why operate the business like its a scam, giving a useful service the big hard sell and frightening pensioners in their homes?

Rather telling is the forum posting from a former tele-sales worker at NES. The ex-worker managed to fix up 4 successful visits a day - not enough for Nationwide Energy Services who require many more visits to earn their commission from the CERT fund. After being urged to push harder, this worker decided NES wasn't an employer they wanted to work for - even in recession hit Swansea.

The money for the CERT scheme comes from the energy companies, who of course collect it from us via our energy bills. It's a shame this government scheme wastes so much of our cash paying commission to middlemen who've spotted a business opportunity.

Apparently Nationwide Energy Services are planning to branch out into comparison selling insurance. How about PPI claims handling? Or accident victim compensation? These sound like suitable services for a company which never answers its phones and ignores the rules of the Telephone Preference Service when it comes to cold calling.

Update, June 2013. BBC Three are currently screening 'The Call Centre' an observational documentary soap in the style of comedy series The Office, showing what high jinks the happy Welsh workers at the company behind Nationwide Energy Services are. Nev, their cheery boss is portrayed as a loveable version of David Brent. The BBC rather gloss over the annoyance caused to millions of elderly people trapped at home all day, by all this cold calling activity, but hey why let the facts spoil the fun. 

18th June 2013 - Embarassment for the BBC today as the Information Commissioner has imposed fines totalling £225,000 on 2 of the companies featured in BBC Three's the Call Centre (one of which is Nationwide Energy Services, the other a ppi claim company - the first to be fined). The fines are for failing to make adequate checks the people they cold call are in fact registered with the Telephone Preference Service (and have therefore legally chosen not to receive unsolicited marketing calls). The Information Commissioner received more than 2,700 complaints about these companies between May and December 2012. I'm sure the BBC will be re-recording some of the voice over in future episodes to restore some editorial balance to the series. It may be hysterically funny to work there, but their antics inflict misery on millions of old people, stuck at home all day, who now are too scared to answer their own phones because they know it will be some numpty asking if they've been mis-sold payment protection insurance.


andybay said...

Just had my loft insulation done via Nationwide energy services and I'm very happy with it. Took 6 weeks from the cold call to installation, the installers were Mark Group & they did a good job,even cleaned up their mess :)
The CERT scheme is just Government backed,it isn't "Government Cash",maybe you should do your research first on this.The scheme is free for everyone now, why not have it done?
The Nationwide Surveyor told me that they get paid by the installers for checking the homes and arranging the CERT Grants, obviously the installers are happy to pay someone else as they get guaranteed work in return.
Looks like your mother missed out on something that is "too good to be true" LOL

Jerry Foulkes said...

AndyBay - I am glad you are pleased with your free loft insulation. But you should read my post again as you may not have grasped what I was saying. I know Nationwide has satisfied customers - but they are only 'middlemen'. The CERT money isn't 'free' money it comes from govt levies on our energy billes - so we are paying for the 'free' insulation. Nationwide take a cut of that money for making thousands of nuisance phone calls. My mother didn't 'miss out' she already has 6 inches of loft insulation and does not need anymore - 'free' or otherwise. If Nationwide want to improve their reputation they could start by answering their phones

andybay said...

Obviously we're all paying for it in the end, energy companies don't like to 'donate' such funds, so why not take what we're paying for?
Whether it be with Nationwide or anybody else.
Personally I don't have a problem with cold callers, they usually call with something to offer so I'm willing to listen if I'm interested & if not I'll politely tell them so.How else do small/medium sized Companies like this get the word out? Cold calling is the only affordable way really.
It's also a British Owned Company that's created about 1,500 jobs in a recession and has won numerous awards in Wales for this,why not support that?
It's a typically British attitude to knock small home grown Companies even if they do a good service and create jobs.
The surveyor also told me that BBC3 currently filming a documentary about the Company so may be worth watching to see what these job creating 'nuisances' are all about.

BTW have you actually tried phoning their Customer Service number or are you just quoting comments you've read online? I did have to wait about 10 minutes before they answered me but I have to wait a lot longer when I phone about my tax credits :))

Anonymous said...

You may have been one of the lucky ones that hasn't experienced any issues with NES but I can assure you that they aren't many people with your view. This isn't about knocking a British made company that is creating jobs. This is about knocking a company that has grown too fast, does not know how to train people in 'good old' customer service, applies unecessary pressure on the elderly and really does not have the faintest of clues when it comes to employment law and how staff should be managed.

The documentary could ruin their company and it would nothing less than the so called directors deserve for their weak management, rediculous selling tactics and shoddy business plan which is reliant on Government grants and fads like PPI claim back.

When these come to an end and the banks decide they have paid out enough to the masses they will have to have a re-think!

andybay said...

Not sure about shoddy plans or selling tactics ect. I didn't have a problem with any of that and Customer Services were helpful and polite with me. Considering they've arranged so many installations over the past few years,I haven't seen that many people complaining.
PPI is due to finish in 3 years and the CERT scheme ends this year but there's always another fad I suppose, especially with all this green tax we have to pay via the energy companies. Isn't it the 'Green Deal' next year? That's the problem with being greener,the power companies and government are intent on getting us all to pay for it :(
NES is part of the 'Save Britain Money Group' and they'll probably be cold calling you for the next 'Big Green Fad'
I suppose the next question is whether or not this CERT 'Green'insulation is all it's cracked up to be? Suppose I'll find out this winter lol

Anonymous said...

I had a survey done at the beginning of September and was told it would be installed by 'The Mark Group'. The surveyor left me their number so I could contact them to check when they would be doing the work, I have phoned them twice in the last 2 weeks and they still haven't received my survey so cannot do the work. I tried to phone NES but I'm unable to get through, Presumably this means that my work won't get done but does it also mean that NES can claim the money becuase I have signed a piece of paper to say I will have the work done?

Anonymous said...

I finally yielded to persistent calls and we had extra insulation fitted at the beginning of October. I went into the loft yesterday (end Oct) and it was really damp: ventilation via eaves / soffits is now blocked.
Rang Nationwide Energy Services - no reply, just music and eventually 'we're experiencing telecoms difficulties' message. No reply to email.
I actually got an answer to a telephone call today. Started explaining and they put the phone down on me! Next time it's the recorded message again.
If left as is, I might save money on energy, and be faced with a big bill to replace a rotten roof!

Anonymous said...

Further to my comment above, I just dropped OFGEM a line:
Dear Sir or Madam,

I’m writing to you because:
1. I have an individual problem which appears symptomatic of a larger concern
2. Documentation suggests you have an interest in roof insulation – and may indeed be using taxpayers money to pay for it

I note that your website suggests individuals take up individual complaints against suppliers with Citizens Advice etc. I am writing because I believe this is a bigger issue.

My tale:
I finally yielded to persistent calls and we had extra insulation fitted to our home, FOC, at the beginning of October. I went into the loft yesterday (end Oct) and it was really damp: ventilation via eaves / soffits is now blocked.

I rang Nationwide Energy Services, the company which had done the cold calling, surveying and arrangements for this, several times. I received no reply, just music and eventually a 'we're experiencing telecoms difficulties' message. I emailed and similarly received no reply.

I actually got an answer to a telephone call today. I started explaining and they put the phone down on me! The next time I tried it's the recorded message again. I have checked the company out on the web, and it seems that ‘communications problems’ are the norm for this company.

I am very concerned that although extra insulation might save money on energy, a damp loft will eventually need to decay and a far bigger bill to replace the roof. I have heard similar stories elsewhere and am concerned that while energy savings are realised, much greater future expense is being built up for many people.

If Nationwide Energy Services will not answer calls, may I suggest that their invoices for grants etc. to yourselves remain unanswered? If you know of any route whereby one can actually talk to anyone there I would be glad to hear it.

Yours sincerely,
Steve Milner

Anonymous said...

Having just read the above comments, I have started to panic ! I have just signed up to loft and wall insulation via a cold call third party EUM Consultants and was asked for my National Insurance No. Feeling a bit of an idiot at the moment.

andybay said...

NES only arrange Grants, they don't do any installations. NES arranged my grant but it was the Mark Group that did the work.Why don't you contact the Company that did the installation? It's a bit pointless wasting time contacting the Company that just arranges the paperwork.
Companies like NES are just the middlemen, they arrange the paperwork and sell on the qualified grants, they don't take taxpayers money just because you've signed a piece of paper LOL.
In fact they don't take any taxpayers money, they're paid directly by private companies.
Obviously, your not satisfied with the work done so why not pursue the actual Company that did the work.
I can't really see NES being seen as having any responsibility in that respect as they just filled in the paperwork that entitled you to the grant.

Anonymous said...

I work for NES although not directly. I canvas doors for them through my boss who is an agent of them. I can honestly say the amount of pressure I'm under for what I get paid is pathetic. That's when I get paid, am still waiting for wages that were due 5 days ago. I would agree with Andy though if you have a problem with the installation contact the company who installed it 'ie The Mark Group' because they are ultimately responsible and accountable for the job. NES are incredibly busy so that's why you can't get through on there freephone number try this:
01792 720019

Anonymous said...

i work for one of the installation companies that generate work from EUM consultants .. and i agree you may as well get back what you are paying for .. ive took advantage of it myself and could feel the diffrence the same evening! and also to the above people who cant get through to EUM on the telephone .. its not them selves that you deal with for any queries after survey or installation has been done .. it is ourselves the company who comes and does the work for you.

Anonymous said...

I feel the same way as anonymous's comment 15th November, two guys from NWS called saying they were sent by the agent who I rent my property from, and was brow beaten in to giving my NI number and kept on insisting that I called his office. After signing the documents, I contacted the actual landlord, who told me that the loft had been insulated by him and the cavity walls had been insulted when the property had been built, I rang the number he had written on my copy of the paper work, this was EUM consultants, and told the person who answered the phone that the landlord did not want the work carried out, I was told that the job would be pulled. What I found odds that the paper work I had NES logo, it was EUM consultants number that was left.

Anonymous said...

I just rung the 01792 720019 i got through but they said ive got the rong number and i have to ring the 0800 number. So please has anybody got a diffrent number for them?

Mellors said...

No, this 01792 720019 is correct. Just called them and they conirmed they were Nationwide Energy. As they take no notice of the Telephone Preferrence Service, I told them I was just ringing to waste their time like they waste mine. I have no intention of using their services. I blame the Govenment for letting these these Get Rich Quick companies access to tax payer money. Should be controlled through local council with properly approved contractors. Mellors

Anonymous said...

Could you imagine local councils 'controlling' such big scheme? Now that's funny :))

Anonymous said...

If theres one thing that gets on my nerves its this 'the customer is always right' crap. You and your mother are wrong. Firstly you can't blame a middle-man company for anything an angency does. Secondly your mother and you clearly have something against cold callers and made your minds up about this company before they even offered you anything and for your mother to be surprised by the word 'bugger'...what a ridiculous woman. Thirdly, Nationwide Energy Services have insulated thousands of homes and saved thousands of people money on their energy bills. Its not a scam, its a grant scheme, know the different. The 0800 number does get answered, they're just so incredibly busy like any successful business, people want their services. Also every sales team has targets, some are very high so for people moaning about it, don't work there...the environment wouldn't suit me so I wouldn't even bother applying. Use your common sense people, not every businessman is a criminal, you should see the good that the owner of this company does, charity events and such.

Anonymous said...

I am so happy for anyone claiming this benefit.

I expect my power bills to drop the instant everyone has taken advantage of this benefit. Oh, it doesn't work like that?

Chris Huhne is being paid:

"£20,500 comprising a £10,000 signature fee and a retainer of £3,500 a month payable in advance for October, November and December 2012. Hours: estimated at 8 hours a month; 24 hrs in total"

for helping out this helpful firm based in Wales. That's less than £1000 per hour - bargain Boyo.

Anonymous said...

Nes are bad company to work fir as after spending months surveying for them they refuse to pay wages

Anonymous said...

having done plenty of work as a contractor for these people (NES) they suck you in by paying you a couple of times then all of a sudden the pay date changes and now its months before you are going to get paid if at all and we are told not to call prior to appointment as this only gives customers opportunity to cancel

Anonymous said...

My elderly disabled Mother had a young female from this company peer in her lounge window beconning her to open the door, as my Mother was awakened out her afternoon nap was a bit confused and thought it was someone else she struggled to the door with her Zimmer only to realise it was a COLD CALLER . My Mother pointed out that she had a sticker on the window requesting NO COLD CALLERS, although the girl peered in the very same window she said she did not see it and that was not cold calling. This company need to train there staff to be respectful towards people who have the right to be in their own homes and not too be harassed like this. I would rather pay for Insulation and be treated with respect .

Anonymous said...

On another matter completely my mother had a phone call from a subsidiary of NES last SEPTEMBER informing her of her entitlement under PPI. An appointment was arranged and cancelled by them twice before a meeting eventually took place. Since then we have heard nothing from them despite numerous telephone calls and emails messages to them. Save Britain Money indeed. I need to save some money on my phone bill ringing these incompetents. Wouldn't touch this Company or any of it's susidiary companies with a barge pole. Poor staff training, heavy pressure and Nef Wilshire is going to come down to earth with one almighty bang sometime very soon. The bigger you are, the harder you fall Mr Wilshire.

Anonymous said...

A cold caller came and signed up my elderly parents on 10/11/12. they are still waiting for the installation to go ahead and it is now 17/04/13. I just managed to get thru to the 0800 4089000 number after 2 months of trying and I was told that the scheme had changed at the end of January 2013 and now my 85 an 89 years old parents do not qualify. Thank you Nationwide Energy Services!!

Anonymous said...

If the scheme changed or ended that's not NES fault, as it's a government scheme. Duh!

Anonymous said...

If you have had shitty work it's not NES fault as again as most have you have already stated NES are just the middle man. They only get the ball rolling. If the surveyor didn't turn up or you had crap work completed it's their fault. NOT NES!!!!

Anonymous said...

I've just watched Nev blatantly lie on the BBC's The Call Centre program. His company does *not* check the TPS register before cold-calling elderly, vulnerable people - I have family evidence of that. Also, when I complained via the TPS process in October 2012 against this company, they stated that such a company name as his (that I recorded exactly from Companies House) does not exist and so my complaint was cancelled. Nev is laughing all the way to the bank. He started with 8 workers and went to over 700 and bought the massive Swansea building all within a few years. He and all his bosses and all the several members of his family that also own shares in this company must be ashamed to walk the streets of Swansea. They have turned the nation's elderly peoples' landline telephones into devices to fear, instead of devices that brought comfort. His statements on Episode 1 of this TV programme show that he has no regard for the elderly.

Anonymous said...

Try sending a letter to Nev at home. He is happy to disturb people in their homes, so why not let him know how you feel?

It looks like his customer service inbound phone is blocked on a permanent basis.

Perhaps by everyone responding directly to Nev at home, he will get the message. As Nev says, share the love and help overcome peoples loneliness. it also ensures that he gets the attention he so desperately desires.

Answers on a postcard to Nev (Homer Napoleon Moses Simpson) Wilshire, 3 The Gables, Three Crosses, Swansea SA4 3PL.

Quite visible on Google Earth.

From: The Good Samaritan

Anonymous said...

Fantastic suggestion.

Why not visit?

Cold calling works two ways. I wonder how well Nev would take it?

Now that would be something worth filming, so don't forget to take your camera ready for YouTube.

Anonymous said...

My view the owner of this blog The Chief Executive has 'f' all else to do.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know why Chris Huhne, the former minister, was paid by Nev £20,000?

Anonymous said...

The bit theHR team dont wantvthe staff to know.

In broad terms, workplace harassment can include:

unwanted physical conduct, including touching, pinching, pushing, grabbing, and more serious forms of physical or sexual assault;
unwelcome sexual advances or suggestive behaviour, and suggestions that sexual favours may further a career or that a refusal may hinder it;
continued suggestions for social interaction after it has been made clear that such suggestions are unwelcome;
sending or displaying pornographic material or material that some people may find offensive;
offensive or intimidating comments or gestures, or insensitive jokes or pranks;
mocking or mimicking a person's disability;
racist, sexist, homophobic or ageist jokes, or derogatory or stereotypical remarks about a particular ethnic or religious group or gender; or
outing or threatening to out someone as homosexual.

Anonymous said...

Seems like the PA girlfriend and his Farrari never get a mention; makes me wonder why????

For someone so interested in publicly humiliating people about their past and current relationships, he stays very tight lipped about his own.

Could he be hiding something?

Answers on a postcard

Anonymous said...

I notice the BBC are reluctant to show the darker side of NES. Like not paying their contractors for work completed. constantly promising invoices paid and never actually doing so. I'm into NES for over 6 grand in 6 weeks and they've paid chuff all.
Senior management have even told me in person that they have a "problem with their funder"!!
If any other DEA's / GDA's are reading this then stay well clear as they will certainly screw your cash flow up.
Really gutted as Nev came very highly recommended by a mutual friend.
Watch this space as if I'm not paid by close of play tomorrow I'll be issuing statutory demands for all the invoices. Then, if not paid in 21 days, I'll be petitioning the High Court to have the company wound up. Then lets see if Nev is such an honest businessman. and if the BBC will show that on the telly!!!

Anonymous said...

Same again, field sales staff not getting paid..wages dept haven a clue, why no pay..
6wks in and no pay..
Could be going the same way as blog above..

Stay well away from these lot

Anonymous said...

Totally agree with last post,

The only person making money out of this is Nev the cheating scumbag

I bet his pockets are as fat as his kids

PS Nev with all the money you have scammed from us get your daughters roots done on her hair

Anonymous said...

I've worked there for an entire year now and many of the things you are targeting for, supposedly 'spreading the word to keep people safe', simply aren't allowed to happen. Hands down, your mother was one of the exceptional few to have a bad experience. No bad language is tolerated on the phone, neither is surveyor indiscrepancy. Both of them would have at least had a serious warning or,even been fired instantly. We're actually doing boiler replacement now, so I'd like to say a few things.

First we must remember - is there any other cold call that will actually give you something for free? £3500 a boiler is, normally! If you qualify its a free replacement and a year warranty! I'm glad I don't have to do PPI or sell mobile phones, because I know myself, I am genuinely helping people to save money and hopefully be a little happier. (the ones who actually shut up and listen to me, before assuming we're a gas and electric company before rudely and, predictably hanging up)

Which is why I wish people like yourself, with a bee on your bonnet, would not spread your hate-mongering for all to see. Anyone who takes your word for it are going to lose out! Seriously, how much do you really know about the company? I dare say you did a bit of research, but why should anything you find on the internet be any less opinionated that what you've put here? The reason you see all those other things about missed appointments or whatever, well that could have been anything. Surveyor ill? On holiday? I even had one that was in a car crash once! We always rebook our missed surveys anyway!

Please don't feel I'm taking this out on you specifically. I just genuinely feel, we are a group that needs more exposure so that when we say the company name, people are going to know its a call to help them. Not a pushy sales call, not an indian man selling mobiles. Besides, theres not really an opposite side to the discussion here. What will anyone learn from a one-sided debate??

(PS, for a few other people out there - Not one month for the entire time I've been there have I not been paid on either salary OR comission)

Peter Thomos said...

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Anonymous said...

Avoid this company at all costs!!!!! They tell you anything to make money fit you things free that you dont benefit from often from poor installers because they DONT pay installers who fit for them. If you are an installer give this company a wide birth

Anonymous said...

Having problems with NES at present. Came across this blog, total eye opener.

Anonymous said...

It's all a con people, most of you would of got a phone call from the call centre in wales called save britain money, and that 08004089000 number doesn't get answered cause they know it's incoming so they hang up first, and tps doesn't work either, this call centre buys in bulk phone numbers from everywhere, if they phone and you want to be taken off their call list make sure you say tps, that way you call won't keep going around the system, and you won't get calls from them for a month or so, I know I work there and it's all about getting the customers to say yes no matter what

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