Good faith works both ways

By Jon Vanstone, Certass.

2019 will reignite the debate over consumer protection as TrustMark relaunches to the consumer market in spring, with a tagline ‘government endorsed quality’. This leaves schemes to promote either alignment or lack of requirement due to existing high standards.

Not much seems to be have been achieved with the passing of time and the skills debate of 2019 is in part fuelled by poor output to the consumer and the consequent promoted mistrust between our market and those who contract with us.

TrustMark itself is applying some pressure on glazing due to consistent complaints against certain national installers. However, that was the case for the last five years, and while the TrustMark badge has the limited consumer recall it does, the loss of the mark to a business is not the deterrent that government wants it to be.

My concern is that while new consumer charters, codes or schemes spring up pressuring those who play by the rules to jump through new hoops and pay further costs, there is actually little in it for the installer beyond another badge on the van.

Schemes are putting a lot of faith in their logos, making broad unqualified statements on consumer importance. There is no independent statistic within the last few years to support these claims no matter what particular bodies are stating.

The cost of compliance is rising, widening the operational cost gap between those who choose a regulated approach and those who remain outside. We need to ensure a greater benefit to industry in how it conducts business than promises of consumer campaigns that cannot possibly deliver what they state.

Certass launched a new type of trade association in 2018. In 2019, it will be focused entirely on industry and its betterment for our sector.

We want to start a conversation about the ‘rogue consumer’. We all know they exist and any scheme that operates in this territory should be focused on national standards and conduct that protect both consumer and tradesmen – working from the basis that good faith is a two-way street.