Kevin Brennan MP, Minister for Consumer Affairs, presented the White Paper (‘A better deal for consumers – delivering real help now and for the future’) at the beginning of July to interested parties, including the GGF.Drivers for revising consumer protection include increased levels of debt due to the recession, and the rise in internet shopping and bringing in goods from abroad.
The Government believes that the relationship between purchaser and vendor is skewed in favour of the vendor. The government, therefore, want to revise the law so that consumers are better protected.
Other headline changes include: the enforcement of decisions involving disputes over small amounts of money; the clarification of consumer rights in new markets – ie, the internet; and the payment of compensation where there has been a failure in products or services to the consumer.
A number of GGF employees have read the paper, including the Chief Executive Nigel Rees, and the Federation will be providing feedback on its contents.
Despite some (initially) alarming intentions, the GGF believes that the consumer White Paper could be a force for good for GGF Members. The government plans to appoint a ‘Consumer Advocate’ to educate consumers and assist those who have suffered at the hands of unscrupulous business. There will also be stronger penalties for ‘rogue traders’ and banning orders to prevent repeat offences.
“I believe there is much in this White Paper that will benefit our Members,” Nigel Rees said. “The GGF exists, in part, to champion quality businesses selling quality products and services. It would seem natural, therefore, for the GGF to be closely aligned with any initiative to promote consumer rights. Furthermore, the removal of rogue traders from our industry improves the reputation of all honest business.”
The two-year pilot covering compensation for breach of consumer law will start in Autumn 2010 or Spring 2011 and will be extensively evaluated before the National rollout. There will be an opportunity to be involved in a formal consultation on the details of the pilots in the later part of 2009. The OFT will develop a new online complaints system which it hopes will go live in 2010 and it will provide a high profile single complaints register for citizens encountering breaches of consumer law.
The Glass and Glazing Federation (GGF)
The Glass and Glazing Federation (GGF) is the primary trade association for companies that make, supply or fit flat glass and related products representing more than 60% of the industry’s turnover. As such the GGF is the recognised leading authority for employers and companies within the flat glass, glazing, window, home improvement, plastics and window film industries. This includes double glazing, Energy Efficient Windows, replacement windows, doors, conservatories, applied film, hardware, safety glazing, sealants, fire resistant glass, emergency glazing, decorative glass, secondary glazing, solar control and plastics.
The GGF provides information for homeowners, professional specifiers and anyone seeking professional and unbiased information on any aspect of glass and glazing in the UK. GGF members supply replacement windows, doors, conservatories and Energy Efficient Windows in all framing materials including Aluminium, PVC-U, Steel and Timber.
The GGF is a great promoter of energy efficient glazing and the GGF’ss Carbon Calculator enables homeowners and others to see how much money and carbon can be saved by installing new Energy Efficient Windows.
Architects and Specifiers are well supported with a range of literature and professional advisors to assist with all aspects of specification and related issues. GGF Members sign up to the Federation’s Code of Good Practice and are vetted before being accepted. A free conciliation service is provided for mediation between customers and supplying member companies when required.
For further information go to: www.ggf.org.uk