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Press releases 2007 -

The Carpet Foundation gets code approval from the OFT

01/07    2 January 2007

The Carpet Foundation (CF) has become the first trade body within the home furnishings sector to successfully secure OFT approval for its code of practice under the OFT's Consumer Codes Approval Scheme (CCAS). The OFT only approves codes that have proved effective in safeguarding and promoting consumers interests beyond the basic requirements of the law.

The CF is a trade association for carpet manufacturers and retailers and currently has 1090 independent retailers known as 'Registered Specialists' whose sales make up over half of the independent sector, and a further 11 carpet manufacturers are also members.

Consumers will be able to look for the Carpet Foundation/OFT Approved code logo when purchasing a new carpet in order to gain the benefits of the approved code which include:

  • a range of free guarantees including a two year guarantee against manufacturing faults for Carpet Foundation manufactured carpets, and a one year guarantee against installation faults where the Registered Specialist is responsible for the installation
  • an obligation on all members to use fair terms and conditions, including clear and concise information on cancellation rights, and a requirement on members to have in place satisfactory provisions for dealing with vulnerable consumers
  • impartial pre-contractual information for customers including objective advice on a wide range of issues affecting performance, suitability, selection and installation of carpets, and clearly written quotes and terms of business
  • protection of consumers' deposits by Carpet Foundation manufacturers, so that if the retailer ceases to trade, then Carpet Foundation members will fulfil the order at the original price agreed for carpets manufactured by CF members
  • formal procedures for dealing with consumer complaints with a free conciliation service if a member's own complaints procedure does not resolve an issue, and
  • an independent disciplinary panel to ensure that the code is complied with and effectively enforced.

John Fingleton, OFT Chief Executive, said:

'Consumers can be confident that where they see the OFT Approved code logo they will receive a high standard of customer service. I congratulate the Carpet Foundation on its work in driving up standards for consumers in the carpet sector.'

NOTES

1. The OFT's Consumer Codes Approval Scheme consists of two stages. During Stage One the code must meet the OFT's published core criteria, which contain measures designed to remove or ease consumer concerns about undesirable trading practices. In Stage Two the code sponsor must prove that its code lives up to the promises made in Stage One by demonstrating that the code is being effectively implemented by its members and that consumer disputes are properly resolved.

2. The Carpet Foundation (CF) is a trade association for the carpet industry, and currently has 1090 independent retailers known as 'Registered Specialists' whose sales make up over half of the independent sector. The Carpet Foundation consumer code of practice covers the relationship between Registered Specialists and consumers in respect of carpets sold and installed by Registered Specialists to residential consumers. The Carpet Foundation membership also includes 11 manufacturer members.

3. CF originally submitted its code for assessment under the OFT's code approval scheme on 22 October 2004. It completed stage one on 18 August 2005. See press release 158/05 for further information.

4. The Enterprise Act 2002 (Part 1, Section 8) gives the OFT powers to approve and promote consumer codes of practice that meet the OFT's core criteria. The OFT's Consumer Codes Approval Scheme aims to promote and safeguard consumers' interests by helping consumers identify better businesses and to encourage businesses to raise their standards of customer service.

5. The Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) received approval on 27 September 2004 (see press release 153/04), the Vehicle Builders and Repairers Association Ltd (VBRA) received approval on 13 October 2004 (see press release 169/04), the Direct Selling Association (DSA) received approval on 16 December 2004 (see press release 209/04) and the Ombudsman for Estate Agents Company Ltd received approval on 8 September 2005 (see press release 170/05).  Code sponsors who have completed Stage One and are working towards approval of their consumer code are: MVRA Ltd (see press release 09/05), Debt Managers Standards Association (DEMSA) (see press release 121/05), British Association of Removers (see press release 18/06), Safebuy (see press release 37/06), Robert Bosch Ltd (Bosch) (see press release 40/06) and British Healthcare Trades Association (BHTA) (see 108/06).




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