When traders join the scheme, they have to agree to abide by the details in our code of conduct. It is an extra layer of security that ensures Which? Trusted traders are following best practice and procedures in relation to how they handle: consumer contracts; goods and materials; taxes; consumer cancellation rights; payments; guarantees and warranties; insurance complaints; and other areas.
We fully investigate any breaches to the code of conduct. If a Which? Trusted trader does breach the code of conduct, this could lead to them being removed from the scheme altogether.
Code of conduct
For consumers: This is the code of conduct that Which? Trusted traders agree to follow when they join our scheme.
For traders: The code should be read together with the Which? Trusted Traders Agreement, the logo User Regulations and the ‘What is Expected of You’ documentation.
For ease of reference, we refer to Which? Trusted traders as ‘Trusted trader(s)’ or you, and the customers of goods and services as ‘Customer(s)’ and Which? as we, our or us.
1. Aims of the Code of Conduct
To set out the responsibilities, conduct and ethics to be followed by all Which? Trusted traders.
2. Scope of the Code of Conduct
2.1. The Code provides information on what is expected of you when you become a Trusted trader;
2.2. The Trusted trader shall be fully responsible for all employees in meeting the Code’s standards and sub-contractors meeting the Code of Conduct for subcontractors.
2.3. The Code is independent of existing consumer legal rights.
2.4. All Trusted traders (including all directors, employees and/or sub-contractors of the Trusted trader) must respect and uphold the Code, the terms of the Agreement as a condition of membership to the Scheme. Failure to comply with any part of the Code or the terms of the Agreement may result in the termination of your membership of the Which? Trusted Traders Scheme (the “Scheme”) at our absolute discretion.
2.5. The terms of the Code may be changed by us by providing the Trusted trader with at least 28 days’ notice.
3. As a Which? Trusted trader
3.1. Be open, honest and cooperative with us in regard to all elements of the Scheme.
3.2. Comply with the terms and conditions of the Which? Trusted Traders Agreement.
3.3. Not undertake unsolicited visits to consumers’ homes.
3.4. Settle any County Court Judgments in 30 days.
3.6. Complete all pre and post endorsement actions and any actions identified through the reassessment process within the specified period.
3.7. Bring to the attention of Which? any matters relating to you, your business or any other current or previous business of yours that might present a risk to the reputation of Which?
3.8. Inform Which? of any changes to your business for example legal status, scope of business activity, bankruptcy, company dissolution/administration/insolvency/liquidation relating to any owner or officer of the company’ or changes in staff or subcontractors used.
3.9. Comply with all Which? Trusted Traders’ policies, procedures and protocols.
4.2. That, when the use of Which? Trusted Traders review forms is required, you will provide these to the relevant customers so that they may complete the forms in private, and you will explain to the customers so that they may send back to us using pre-paid postage. All responsibility for explaining this or any related process to the customers rests solely on you.
5. Professional conduct
5.1. Act diligently and in accordance with the technical and professional standards of your relevant trade and/or service.
5.2. Only carry out work that falls within your professional competence and exercise due care and skill at all times.
5.3. Act responsibly, professionally and be polite at all times.
5.4. Respect the confidentiality of information that you obtain through work and business relationships.
5.5. When supplying goods, only supply those that correspond to their description, are of satisfactory quality and fit for purpose, and that comply with all applicable UK and EU legislation.
5.6. Comply with Health and Safety requirements and the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015.
6. Quotations, contracts and other documentation
6.1. Home improvement and repair businesses shall supply to the customer a quotation (in writing where practical) that details the work to be carried out, including materials supplied, who will be carrying out the works and a breakdown of the costs (including materials, labour and all taxes and other costs that may apply or affect the final price). Details of any deposits or staged payments together with timings for work agreed should also be shown.
6.2. Where additional work is requested or is required, provide the customer with a revised or additional quote – to include the additional work – before that work takes place.
6.3. Where required, provide to the customer the correct 14 day cancellation rights for all works agreed to by telephone or in the customer’s home, if over £42, and supply information about the contract and identity of the business, as required by law before they commit to the contract.
6.4. Provide the customer with written confirmation of any contract entered into, or a copy of the contract, any Terms and Conditions and the written information you are required to provide within a reasonable timeframe.
6.5. Maintain full records of all Customer correspondence and documentation, and retain a log of complaints for a minimum period of two years.
All invoices must
7.1. Be supplied to the Customer with payment terms and allow a 30 day period for payment unless otherwise stated in writing.
7.2. Provide a revised or additional quotation of any additional works/costs undertaken as agreed by the customer.
7.3. Include your VAT number and all prices are inclusive of VAT (if VAT is applicable).
7.4. Full payment shall not be taken from the Customer until the Trusted trader has completed the work.
7.5. If there are to be interim payments, they should either be agreed in advance for set stages and payment made in completion of those stages, or for the supply of materials, payment should be made once they have been delivered to the site. Interim payments should be agreed when the contract is made and should represent no more than a reasonable valuation of the work completed and materials delivered.
Customer deposits shall
7.6. Be repaid to the Customer (along with any other pre-payments) within 30 days of completion of the work and/or where the work is cancelled by the Customer because either within the cancellation period, or if the work does not take place within a reasonable time. Where work is cancelled by the customer (and there has been no breach of the Customer’s common law and statutory rights) you retain no more than reasonable costs you have incurred.
7.7. Where you require a deposit for more than £500, they are protected.
8. Guarantees and warranties
Any guarantee(s) provided to the Customer must:
8.1. Be appropriate to the product or service that you are supplying, and should be accompanied by a statement that nothing in the guarantee affects the Consumer’s statutory rights.
8.2. Cover the labour and materials that formed part of the completed work.
8.3. Not restrict the Customer’s common law and statutory rights.
8.4. Where the guarantee is for more than a year, be fully explained to the Customer whether or not the guarantee is backed by an insurance policy.
8.5. Clearly explain its terms and duration.
8.6. Clearly explain where the operation of a guarantee is conditional upon appropriate use or maintenance by the Customer.
8.7. Explain if and why certain parts of the work are not under guarantee.
8.8. Where relevant and legally viable, pass on a manufacturer guarantee to the Customer.
9. Which? Trusted Traders online content
10.1. Maintain adequate insurance policies to cover all relevant risks including, but not limited to, employers and public liability insurance.
10.2. Provide evidence of all relevant insurance policies upon request.
All advertising relating to the products or services provided by the Trusted trader shall be legal, decent, honest and truthful and all claims, howsoever made, must be able to be justified. They must comply with the Committees of Advertising Practice’s code. Where you carry out telephone sales, you shall comply with our Cold Calling Protocol.
12. The Trusted trader icon
You must use the Trusted trader icon solely in connection with your approved business activities as further described in the Which? Trusted Traders Agreement and User Regulations. Please refer to the Which? Trusted Trader logo regulations.
13. Marketing and publicity
13.1. The ways in which you may refer to Which? and the Scheme are set out in the Which? Trusted Traders Agreement.
13.2. You must not, in any event, present Which? in a detrimental, unfair, malicious way, or in any way that damages Which?’s reputation or goodwill.
14. Complaints policy
14.1. Acknowledge all complaints and offer a course of action to the Customer within 28 days for all complaints.
14.2. Not refer customers to subcontractors or manufacturers to resolve the complaint.
14.3. If agreed by the Customer, carry out such remedial action within eight weeks from the date of Customer agreement.
14.4. Endeavour to settle complaints amicably with the Customer.
14.5. Offer Customers full details of why a complaint will not be upheld if relevant.
14.6. If complaints cannot be resolved between you and the Customer, cooperate with an independent ombudsman and comply with any decision in relation to the complaint.
15. Dispute Resolution Ombudsman
15.1. Unless you have access to an accredited Alternative Dispute Resolution provider, you agree that, as a Which? Trusted trader, you shall be subject to the procedure and requirements of our independent alternative dispute resolution Ombudsman. This is a not-for-profit company that provides an independent, expert dispute resolution service to our Which? Trusted traders and their customers. In the event that a complaint cannot be resolved between you and the Customer under the Complaints policy outlined above, you can ask your customer to contact the Ombudsman via the Which? Trusted Traders telephone number or by visiting https://trustedtraders.which.co.uk/about/why-use-which-trusted-traders/.
15.2. The Ombudsman investigates complaints fairly and the service focuses on encouraging early agreed resolution, wherever possible. The Ombudsman is entirely independent, meaning that they assess the facts of each individual case. They do not take sides and they make decisions based on the facts. The relevant terms relating to the Ombudsman are detailed in Schedule 1 of the Which? Trusted Traders Agreement.