Be aware of cheap, budget HIP & EPC providers

Cheap Home Information Pack (HIP) and Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) providers in the market place, are unfortunately not delivering the promised service or product at times, within the timescales agreed. It has been brought to our attention that a number of companies are taking excessive time to deliver or arrange EPCs, some have not received their HIP or EPC at all as the company has gone into liquidation and ceased trading.

Recently, we have received numerous calls from anxious concerned people who were looking for advice on what they could do in their specific problematic scenarios plus people who thought they had instructed us to carry out their HIP and/or EPC, when infact they had opted for a ‘cheap HIP provider‘.

These clients had made enquiries via HIP-Consultant.co.uk at some point, though had decided to try and save further money from our competitive fees through other providers.

A number of estate agents have reported to us that they are expecting the HIP to be ready to allow legal marketing within 3-4 days. We are told that in many cases the energy assessor has not even contacted the owner in this timescale nevermind the HIP being prepared to the extent that is now required by law.

Poor quality HIP providers have to an extent managed to go un-noticed as there was not a major requirement for the documents to be prepared efficiently and in a timely manner; as prior to 6th April 2009 a property could be marketed as long as a HIP had been ordered. However, this has changed, if you want your property marketed quickly and legally you really need to consider whether you HIP provider will deliver this.

From the 6th April 2009, to be able to legally market your property the following documents must be in place and available:

  • Index
  • Property Information Questionnaire (PIQ)
  • Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) or Predicted Energy Assessment (PEA) for new homes marketed before completion
  • Sustainability information (new homes only)
  • Sales Statement
  • Evidence of Title – HMLR Title Plan and Register. For unregistered properties a search of the index map must be included.

So why the poor service?

Am afraid it is time for the phrases and clichés you will often heard from your parents and grandparents and never have they been more true.

“If something looks too good to be true, it normal is..”

The HIP prices are often so cheap from budget HIP providers as they hope, plan or it is a requirement that you use other services from ‘them’, for example conveyancing or marketing of your property and they will obviously make more income from you in this respect.

We simply focus on Home Information Packs and Energy Performance Certificates and at no point will we try and sell you other products or services. The quality of our service and professionalism is paramount, we will never sacrifice this to reduce costs.

Cheap, budget HIP providers will as is quite standard across the industry contract out the energy assessment to produce the EPC, an important part of the Home Information Pack. However, the main consideration for the ‘budget HIP provider‘  when choosing an assessor for your domestic energy assessment appears to be……, yes you have guessed it, price.

“You get what you pay for..”

Domestic energy assessors (DEA) who work with us, often tell us of  ‘cheap HIP providers’ that call them to make offers of work at fees levels which are often described by them as  insulting and they refuse to do the work due to this. These providers then continue to contact assessors until they have found someone who will do the work at these fees which often equate to less then the minimum wage.

They do seem to eventually find someone, though this can take them time, hence the delay, lack of professionalism and quality of the service which is often reflected in the assessment.

“Pay peanuts, get monkeys..”

Is a phrase we are hearing repeated by many DEAs frustrated by these companies and those DEAs who are accepting these very low fees.

There also seems to be an increasing level of  ‘budget HIP providers’ who are delaying or struggling paying the domestic energy assessors they use, which does raise questions in regard to their long term security, viability and business model. If their cash flow is so tight they are not able to pay for services of DEAs that they have used, it raises concerns of whether they are close to shutting their doors and if the HIP will actually be produced.

We have seen a good number of these ‘cheap HIP providers’ cease trading one of which was reported on by Watchdog ‘HIPS company fails to deliver’ and we are sure to see more.

“There is no such thing as a free lunch..”

With these ‘cheap’ HIP and EPC providers, it may seem as that is what you are going to get, but please be aware this may not actually be the case and using one of these companies may turn out to be false economy.

Please note:  In most cases we are unable to help with past problems encountered with ‘other’ providers. However, if we can help you in the future feel free to contact us.


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6 Responses to “Be aware of cheap, budget HIP & EPC providers”

  1. A friend of mine bought a cheap HIP (despite me offering to do it at cost!). When I looked at her “HIP” I found the HMLR documents to be the ones that can be bought on line for about £4 each. These documents are NOT authorised to be used in a HIP!

    I “encouraged” her to email the company with the threat of Trading Standards……She got her money back.

    The other “cheap” HIP is the one at £99 from some estate agents (EA). But read the small print! In some cases, if you leave that EA, you could well get a bill for £400!

    The same goes for the “FREE HIP” from an EA…read the small print! Or perhaps get a bill for £400+!

    As said above…”No such thing as a free lunch”

    And the shoe can be on the other foot!

    I have lost two EA’s to someone doing cheap EPC’s. But they are back using me now!

    Why did they bin their DEA?

    The EA’s did not get the EPC and had to chase it.
    The DEA was late for appointments or did not turn up.
    The DEA was rude and off handed with their client.
    The DEA was “dressed” in jeans and a Tshirt/tracksuit.
    The EA/customer never received the EPC (payed for) as the DEA had done a runner.
    The homeowner complained at the cost of the EPC, to the EA, as “He was only here for 20 mins(including having a cup of tea)”.

    I can assure you that a “proper” survey takes about 1 hour.

    As has been said “You get what you pay for”.

    My two EA’s have learnt this. But it cost them with time spent chasing documents and taking phone calls from unhappy vendors and damaged THEIR professional image.

    So to all you estate agent, solicitors and homeowners reading this…what is the solution?

    Use a company like HIP-Consultant.co.uk for your HIP/EPC’s.
    (No I do not work for them! But I have passed clients on to them for EPC’s out of my area of coverage – They provide an outstanding service…..(MD) that bit will cost you £2000!!).

    Or…..

    For EPC’s try;

    http://findadea.whatstheidea.org.uk/

    (HIP-Consultant.co.uk are members of the Institute of Domestic Energy Assessors, IDEA)

    Be safe out there!!

  2. It’s a shame that, what is for most of us, the biggest purchase, is also subject to some of the biggest rip-offs. We all want a bargain, but there is a price to be paid for everything.

  3. In early July, I was invited by (company name removed sorry) to do EPCs for them at around £23. I am not a monkey, I do not work for peanuts and I’m not going to be insulted. I do a professional job, and I like to build up a relationship with my clients and provide a reliable and efficient service.

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