Installing windows, doors and conservatories is a complex business, one which homeowners don’t always appreciate. We’re dealing with the very fabric of a building here and – especially when installing replacements – every fitter can tell you horror stories of the unexpected problems they’ve found when old windows have been removed. On top of that, there are more people involved in a window and door job than meets the eye; installers, fabricators, hardware suppliers, glass manufacturers – they all have a part to play (and deliver).
When a homeowner signs a contract and pays their deposit they’re entitled to expect a professional job, completed on time, and to a specification that was agreed in the contract. This is their home, and they have a right to want things done correctly. Most homeowners understand that things don’t always go to plan, and in most cases, this is not the case, however, when it is, they just want the problem resolved to their satisfaction.
Problems occur when – and for whatever reason – customer expectations don’t match up with what’s delivered and installed. In those circumstances, you have the seed of a dispute.
Communication is key:
When things don’t go quite according to plan, the key to avoiding friction is communication. Open communication between the two parties can help work out a compromise, whether that’s the installer going back to rectify something or altering a specification, there’s usually a reasonable solution that saves everyone time, money and stress.
Alternative dispute resolution facility:
When a compromise cannot be reached the only way forward may be to bring in a third party who is knowledgeable, calm and impartial; and whose only agenda is to find a solution that works for everyone.
The goal is to find the simplest possible compromise that is acceptable to both parties. Homeowners don’t want long, drawn-out disputes with constant call-outs and days off work, while installers don’t want to waste time and money arguing with a homeowner over unreasonable requests whilst not being paid.
DGCOS 3 stage dispute resolution process:
At DGCOS, we strive to ensure that we provide consumers and installation companies with an effective route to a resolution. Homeowners who use a DGCOS member have free access to our 3-stage Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) approved Alternative Dispute Resolution process which aims to resolve disputes quickly and effectively.
Our dispute resolution officers (DRO) assess the situation clearly and impartially, asking themselves a series of questions, including:
1. What did the customer expect?
2. What has the installer done?
3. How and why do they differ?
4. Are other parties (e.g. suppliers) involved and what can they do to help?
5. What has already been done to resolve the situation?
Based on their findings, the DRO can then suggest a workable, reasonable compromise agreement, from a position with no vested interests, that gives everyone a satisfactory outcome.
Charlotte Pilkington, DGCOS Dispute Resolution Manager, comments: “We have the ability to understand situations from both sides of the fence and we have the knowledge and experience to be able to help people make informed decisions. Sometimes all you need is a third party with no connection to either side, to listen and give their view without emotion. It can be difficult when you are in the thick of it, like the consumer/installation companies we deal with, as it is hard for them to put history to one side. But with our help, we can provide a reasonable and fair resolution, which ends their dispute and allows both parties to move forward.”
DGCOS resolves 65.23% of consumer complaints within 7 days:
DGCOS members and the homeowners who sign contracts with them have access to the DGCOS mediation service. In the 8 years since DGCOS was launched our mediation service has been used more than 3,000 times. Since 2015 more than 65% of disputes have been resolved satisfactorily in under seven days.
Although many view DGCOS as primarily an ombudsman scheme, in reality, fewer than 1% of disputes ever get that far. It’s good to know that it’s there, but it’s very rarely used.
More importantly, what those numbers represent are hundreds of projects where things went wrong, an immediate solution didn’t present itself and often tempers were frayed. However, rather than turning into full-blown disputes, the issues were resolved quickly and efficiently, orchestrated by DGCOS mediators.
For installers that means less management time wasted and less money spent. But the most valuable benefit of all is that the projects were completed without public complaints or any loss of reputation.
We are always here to help, even if someone just wants a bit of advice, we never turn anyone away
Considering joining DGCOS?
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Do you have a question?
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