The industry has little regulation.
Whilst standards of product are getting better problems still occur with mis-selling methods, badly installed products, unfulfilled remedial work and lengthy guarantees which are not honoured (due to traders going out of business or having an unwillingness to make good on their promises).
The general public still have a deep-rooted and long standing distrust of the industry.
Many installers believe that the quality of membership of most Trade Associations and Installer Schemes doesn't lend itself to the grouping of highly professional businesses who are customer focused.
The lack of consumer protection is considered appalling by many who experience problems.
Most trade associations/ installer schemes do not have any “teeth” when called upon to intervene with complaints between installers and customers.
If the installer has been unprofessional or carried out unsatisfactory work and refuses to co-operate with the customer or trade association there is little any one can do…..until now.
The only legitimate options left for consumers were: (a) The Citizen’s Advice Bureau, (b) Trading Standards or (c) a trip to the local solicitor or county /high court. The former two can advise but often fail to persuade an intransigent installer to give the consumer satisfation and the latter can be daunting and very often costly to the complainant.
The Ombudsman Scheme has an extensive Accreditation Procedure. This helps members achieve a higher standard of service, administration and consumer satisfaction.
The Ombudsman Scheme has extensive legal powers to investigate complaints made against members. Any decisions made are legally binding and enforceable under the terms of The Arbitration Act 1996. Members have signed a legally binding contract at the point of entry into the scheme allowing the Ombudsman to investigate and thereby agreeing to abide by any decisions made.
The complaints process (consisting of conciliation, mediation, independent inspections and ultimately, if necessary, arbitration) is a totally free service to the consumer/complainant.
This provides a level of protection hitherto unavailable in this industry to consumers.
In short, the scheme is long awaited, very well received by installers, the industry, consumer groups, the press and general public.
The Ombudsman Scheme is a powerful way to help bring renewed consumer confidence and enhance the image of the industry. Members promote professionalism, competency and customer care, combined with a robust form of legal redress for justified complaints.
To find your nearest dgcos accredited member please click the find an installer tab.