The fraud prevention services (DGCCRF) have noted in recent months a very sharp increase in reports linked to the energy renovation of buildings, which amounted to 11,000 for the whole of 2022 and 17,000 in 2023, just in the first nine months. These complaints, which relate to elements of fraud as well as difficulties encountered by consumers, “represented 4% of all reports in 2022” and now reach “12% of reports”, declared Friday Thomas Pillot, head of the consumer protection and market regulation department at the DGCCRF.
If this progression also reflects a rise in power of the “Signal Conso” platform, launched to allow the general public to report malfunctions of all kinds to the DGCCRF, it has challenged the government, which presented on Friday a new “plan to fight against thermal renovation fraud”. In total, around 170,000 checks were carried out in 2022 and gave rise to administrative or even criminal sanctions. “Five billion euros devoted to energy renovation whets appetites and as we strengthen public aid for this priority policy, we must strengthen the arsenal to fight against fraud and guarantee that euros invested are well used,” Thomas Cazenave, Minister Delegate in charge of public accounts, declared to the press.
There will be “more than 30% increase in controls next year”, whether on construction sites for private homes, businesses or communities, announced the Minister of Energy Transition Agnès Pannier. Runacher after a meeting with professionals in the sector at the National Housing Agency (Anah), which manages the MaPrimeRénov' system. The annual budget devoted to this support system for owners of thermal strainers wishing to carry out renovation work has been increased by 1.6 billion euros, which will bring it to 5 billion in 2024.
The number of DGCCRF controllers dedicated specifically to this type of dispute and who intervene throughout the pre-contractual phase aimed at selling the work, will double, from 25 to 50, indicated Thomas Cazenave. “Common sense reflexes” should be observed, underlined Thomas Pillot: “if you are approached by telephone” – canvassing for this type of project being prohibited – “a priori your interlocutor has little chance of being of good faith,” he stressed, also calling for “taking the time to compare several quotes” and paying attention to “the hidden credits that some seek to sell you with the work.”
Agnès Pannier-Runacher, for her part, called for people not to communicate their tax IDs and to be wary of very cheap quotes. New tools are planned in the 2024 finance bill, to arm state services, such as access by Anah to the file of fraudulent bank accounts, indicated Thomas Cazenave.