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Window websites lack transparency; PENMAN INVESTIGATES investigate@mirror.co.uk from the fishy to the fraudulent @PenmanMirror; Rogue firms lie about government grants to get your details.

Byline: PENMAN

DECEPTIVE online adverts are giving the impression there are Government grants available for buying energy efficient windows for your home.

The plugs are data harvesting operations carried out by lead generation companies that sell personal data to window firms.

They urge you to "apply now" and input your personal details - but there are no Government grants.

The Advertising Standards Authority has now banned one marketing campaign that I exposed in May.

"Millions of pounds of funding for homeowners to upgrade their windows," it claimed on Twitter, adding that you could get up to PS2,500 for scrapping your old windows.

The company behind the promoted tweets was KS Online Ltd, of Livingston, near Edinburgh.

It was paid to collect details of potential customers by Clearwin Limited, owner of the Weatherseal and Zenith Home brands and part of the business empire of windows tycoon Brian Kennedy.

The advertising watchdog ruled: "We told them not to misleadingly claim that they were offering consumers access to official funding for home upgrades if that was not the case."

Clearwin insisted that it had not authorised the references to "funding" made by KS Online and said it had terminated its relationship with the lead generator.

The Mirror asked KS Online director Kenneth Sharkey to comment and received a two word response, the second of which was "off ". The internet is awash with other suspect sites. One, called double glazinggrants.com, refers to a privately-funded scheme to help low-income households get new windows.

It doesn't give any links to the supposed funding, its privacy policy and terms and conditions sections are blank, and it has not replied to my emails.

Greendealfundingplan.com claims: "New round of funding released for homeowners to upgrade inefficient windows and doors", and adds a sense of urgency with the warning that the funding is normally taken up "very quickly".

I emailed asking for details of the funding but have got no reply.

Another site, greendealfund.co.uk, is linked to through Twitter adverts promising: "Funding for homeowners to upgrade inefficient windows." It asks you for your contact details but does not give any of its own.

I gave my email address and mobile number and was called back within minutes.

When I asked for their address and phone number, the line went dead.

The privacy policy on this website used the name Hot Home Deals Limited.

This company, now renamed Lead Pronto Ltd, is run by 31-year-old Scott Evans from Irby, on the Wirral.

He told me that his company had nothing to do with greendealfund, explaining: "It's not our site, this is fraud, they have copied part of our privacy policy."

He is, however, behind the site trustedwindowsdoors.co.uk.

This says "Save 60% by comparing the best window companies in your area", which might suggest that it's a neutral price-comparison website.

However, while it states that the site is a trading name of Hot Home Deals, the company number given is that of Clearwin Ltd, which is the Weatherseal and Zenith owner.

Mr Evans confirmed that this site was created by his company in partnership with a lead broker, saying "since then we have fallen out".

He said the site was no longer active and never generated any leads and promised: "I will actually take this site offline to prove our lack of commitment to this approach."

A Clearwin spokesman said: "In terms of marketing our products we adopt a varied multi-channel approach, and interest generated through affiliate organisations accounts for just 5-10% of our total business."

'' It asks for your contact details but does not give any of its own

CAPTION(S):

SALESMAN Clearwin Ltd owner and windows tycoon Brian Kennedy

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Aug 22, 2019
Words:615
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