Consumer campaign names TPO as the only property organisation that operates approved Codes with enhanced consumer safeguards
The Consumer Code Approval Scheme (CCAS) launched a national awareness campaign this month to help more consumers find reputable and trusted businesses and services.
Consumers are being urged to check if their trader is on the Consumer Code Approval Scheme’s (CCAS) Approved Code Directory to ensure they only deal with firms following an accredited Code of Practice.
The CCAS has approved 24 Codes that collectively protect over &51billion in consumer spending. The Approved Code Directory has over 43,000 approved code members, which are responsible for more than 27million transactions.
TPO is the only property organisation to have its own Codes approved by CCAS, having received its first CCAS accreditation in 2005. TPO joined forces with a range of organisations in healthcare, retail, manufacturing, automotive, legal, energy, construction and financial services that have all pledged their continued commitment to raise industry standards by operating CCAS-approved Codes. (Read CTSI’s campaign press release here – agents can view a copy of the press release TPO issued in support of the campaign on the scheme's website).
What does this news mean for agents?
Explaining the news, Gerry Fitzjohn, TPO’s Board Chairman, said: “TPO has been supportive of the Consumer Codes Approval Scheme since it was first launched by Office of Fair Trading many years ago. This is because the codes approved by the CCAS not only set out the minimum legal requirements, but place additional obligations on businesses to provide a higher standard of service to consumers. Businesses that sign up to these codes can proudly display their CTSI CCAS logo, demonstrating their commitment to expert service and underlining the enhanced consumer protection available to their clients.”
Gerry added: “Over 95% of UK sales agents and 85% of UK letting agents have voluntarily agreed to follow TPO’s approved Sales and Lettings Codes. All of these agents are listed on CTSI’s Approved Code Directory as well as the TPO website, and the sheer number demonstrates the value placed in TPO’s approved codes by the property sector. This can only be a good thing for consumers and the industry alike and I would encourage all approved businesses to explain these important benefits to their clients.”
Any TPO member agent following the scheme’s Sales or Lettings Code can proudly refer to itself as an approved code member.
Approved code members have the right to display the trusted CTSI approved Code logo in their branch windows and on their websites. Branch stickers are available to order here.
Take action! Every TPO agent should use their membership as an opportunity to assure consumers that they follow an accredited Code of Practice, which requires agents to operate to the highest industry standards. We’ve provided some examples of how you can explain the value of your membership to consumers below:
• TPO Codes of Practice give consumers complete peace of mind that should an issue arise that they are unable to resolve with their agent, they can raise a complaint with TPO
• TPO’s free, fair and impartial dispute resolution service is a genuine alternative to the small claims courts
• TPO is the only property organisation to have its own Codes of Practice approved by the Consumer Code Approval Scheme (CCAS), which go above and beyond the law to protect consumers
• TPO is not a regulator but the Ombudsman’s powers mean that a member agent can be held to account for their actions, thanks to the scheme’s CCAS-approved Codes of Practice. Every complaint is different but the way the Ombudsman reviews them is exactly the same
• The Codes of Practice are crucial when reviewing complaints as they underpin the way each case is investigated to ensure a consistent and fair approach for all parties. The consumer and agent are signposted to the exact section(s) of the Code so there is complete transparency about how each case is reviewed to achieve a fair outcome
Agents beware! The CCAS was launched by CTSI in 2013 as part of a wider government review of consumer legislation and replaced a scheme operated by the defunct Office of Fair Trading. It is now illegal for agents to display the OFT logo in their marketing material and/or branch windows. TPO’s stationary order form provides a complete overview of the correct literature that agents can use to promote their membership.
New CTSI Brand Guide! The CTSI Logo is subject to specific conditions – please make sure you have read CTSI’s new Brand Guide, which was published last month and replaces all previous guidance.
We’ve published a quick guide for agents to ensure they are correctly displaying their membership, which you can view here.