Recent Trading Standards Action
HETAS continues to work with Trading Standards in bringing about enforcement action against installers who fail to comply with the standards expected. HETAS understands that reputable installers want to see action taken against bad installers and we are working hard to make this happen.
In one case a wood burning stove installer was ordered to pay more than £7,000 after he was prosecuted by Caerphilly Trading Standards for falsely claiming he was registered with HETAS. At a hearing in January this year the business owner was fined a total of £3,920, ordered to pay costs to the council of £1,518.75, compensation to consumers of £1,538.40 and a victim surcharge of £73.
Additionally, a trial set in case of Fife man accused of carbon monoxide risk from badly fitted stove has been adjourned a number of times. The latest trial of the case brought under consumer protection legislation related to alleged incidents at two separate properties between June and August 2016. A new date is yet to be advised. The length of time taken in this case highlights the complexities with enforcement action, however, HETAS will continue to work with Trading Standards in pursuing installers who do not meet the required standards.
The team also wanted to remind our registrants that the whistleblowing process has been in place for a number of years, enabling you to raise concerns that you have identified in your daily work.
The whistleblowing helpline is led by Registration Manager Jo Courtney-Wiggins. Used to ensure consumer safety and prevent bad installations, the whistleblowing helpline is a great resource for those seeking both action and solutions.
Jo says: “We always want to hear about businesses falsely claiming to be HETAS registered, who appear to be misusing the brand or those who do not comply with standards and regulations. As an organisation, our purpose is to promote the safe and effective use of solid fuels, biomass and related technologies. We would implore anyone with any concerns about rogue traders in your area or non-compliant installations to get in touch with HETAS.
“We’re proud to have the support from various sectors, manufacturers and organisations in the industry. Working alongside influential organisations such as BFCMA, SFA, SIA and sweep associations (APICS, The Guild and NACS) allows us to provide the most up-to-date information and informed advice.”
Bruce Allen, CEO, says: “Enforcement against rogue traders and those pretending to be registered has become more common in recent years, aided by HETAS entering a formal Primary Authority relationship with Trading Standards. We partner with Trading Standards and our registration team have provided numerous and regular Witness Statements to support legal enforcement nationwide.
Bruce continues: “Talking to HETAS installers every day, we know the frustration they can feel about installers who undertake very poor work whether registered with us or not. This year, several businesses have been suspended and/or removed from the registration scheme as a direct result of the whistleblowing procedure. Conversely, when we receive complaints about installers that are not justified we have been able to support installers and present a clear case to the customers concerned. Where there are safety concerns we always want to hear about them and will either act or advise as appropriate.
“Sadly there are times when non-registered businesses misuse the brand and mislead customers. Through our Primary Authority partnership with Trading Standards, HETAS has developed a robust process for dealing with logo misuse. If you are aware of someone misusing the brand, please let us know so we can initiate our processes. In more complex cases we work with Trading Standards and we have several recent cases of enforcement by Trading Standards. Get in touch with the team on firstname.lastname@example.org along with evidence of brand misuse.”
Bruce concludes: “Ultimately, our aim is to be recognised as the go-to resource for any solid fuel, wood and biomass heating related queries so that we can continue to encourage the improvement of products and promote high standards of quality, design, safety and efficiency. We are very proud of the work we do and always willing to share our insight and expertise.”