Consumer protection is at the heart of everything we do at HIES and we strongly believe that no consumer should ever be left disadvantaged. With this in mind, we are constantly striving to reduce consumer detriment and raise industry standards.
The level of consumer protection provided by HIES is of the highest standard, and in order to achieve this, we believe the following ‘8 pillars of consumer protection’ must be adhered to:
- All home improvement businesses are members of an approved industry sector Code of Practice (COP).
- All consumers are registered with the installer’s COP (so the Code has oversight).
- The COP writes to every consumer entering into a contract with a member (above, £500 contract value) letting them know of the protections in place and also asking for feedback on the installer’s performance.
- The COP has a responsibility to provide free mediation, free inspections and free ADR/ Ombudsman protection if there are any disputes with its members.
- The COP cannot ‘lose its responsibility’ if the installer is no longer a member.
- The COP should police and audit that all consumers have their deposits and guarantees robustly protected, should the installer cease to trade (and keep records of this).
- The COP should police that all ‘performance calculations’ or other pre-sales information given by traders are verified and audited and if the performance calculations are found to be incorrect, obtain effective redress for the consumer.
- Consumers should have access to a ‘scheme of last result’ in case the trader becomes insolvent. This way no consumer will ever be disadvantaged.