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Press releases 2008 -

Institute of Professional Willwriters completes Stage One of OFT Consumer Codes Approval Scheme

58/08    7 May 2008

The Institute of Professional Willwriters (IPW) has successfully completed the first stage of the OFT's Consumer Codes Approval Scheme (CCAS).

The IPW is an association for Will Writers. The code covers the drawing up of Wills, Estate Administration and other related activities. The IPW currently has 250 full members across the UK.

By completing Stage One, the IPW has satisfied the OFT that its consumer code of practice promotes and safeguards consumer interests beyond the minimum requirements of consumer law. Key features and benefits of IPW's code are:

  • members are required to pass an entrance exam and complete ongoing training to maintain their professional knowledge
  • members will provide consumers with a minimum seven day cooling off period
  • members will complete work within strict time frames, agreed with the client
  • consumer prepayments and deposits will be protected in the event that a member is unable to provide the promised service, and
  • a low cost, independent redress scheme will be available.

The IPW will now be invited to provide the OFT with evidence that the code is working in practice and delivering on its promises. In doing so the IPW will undertake comprehensive monitoring procedures including compliance visits and consumer satisfaction surveys. Only codes that demonstrate that they are effective in promoting consumer interests are entitled to display the OFT Approved Code logo.

Mike Haley, OFT Director of Consumer Protection, said:
'A Will is an important document often made when time is of the essence. Consumers need help to identify professional organisations to assist them in making a Will. Consumers who buy goods or services from a business with an OFT approved Code can expect a much higher standard of protection than that required by law. We look forward to working with the IPW during the next stage towards OFT approval.'

NOTES
 
1. The OFT's Consumer Codes Approval Scheme (CCAS) aims to promote and safeguard consumer interests by helping consumers to identify better businesses, and to encourage those businesses to raise their standards of customer service. The core criteria cover the organisation of the code sponsor, the preparation and content of the code, complaints handling, monitoring, compliance and publicity.

2. 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. At 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.

3. 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.

4. For more information see the Consumer Codes Approval Scheme section.

5. The Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) received approval for its code 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), the Ombudsman for Estate Agents Company Ltd (OEA) received approval on 8 September 2005 (see press release 170/05), the Carpet Foundation received approval on 2 January 2007 (see press release 01/07), Robert Bosch Ltd (Bosch) received approval on 9 July 2007 (see press release 98/07) and the British Association of Removers (BAR) received approval on 22 February 2008 (see press release 26/08).

6. 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), Safebuy (see press release 37/06), British Healthcare Trades Association (BHTA) (see press release 108/06) and Renewable Energy Association (REA) (see press release 160/07).




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