Which Trusted Traders

Which? Trusted Trader LogoWhich Trusted Traders

As you know, Which? Trusted Traders and HETAS are two not for profit organisations that have a longstanding relationship. The partnership was designed to raise the profile of reputable HETAS installers by further endorsing your accreditation with HETAS.

Which? Trusted Traders fills an important gap in the market. A completely free-to-use service for all consumers, not just our members, Which? Trusted Traders exists to help people

find local traders they can depend on. At the same time, it gives trustworthy traders the recognition they deserve. While there are already a number of trader schemes in the marketplace, none can provide what Which? Trusted Traders provides – an endorsement from the UK’s leading independent consumer organisation.

When you’re endorsed by Which? you know it means something.

And Which? Trusted Traders is no different. Our trading standards professionals carefully assess every applicant to ensure they meet our high standards and look at the consumer element of your business. The assessment has been referred to as a ‘Health check’ and we will provide valuable advice on your paperwork, insurance (you’d be surprised how many traders are not covered for elements of their work) and ensure that your consumer facing element is fully compliant with best practice and consumer law.

“We know Which? has a great reputation and are a trusted well known company. Customers like to be put at ease with knowing necessary checks have been made on traders and feel more comfortable being able to view trusted feedback before they choose to go ahead. We feel that by being a Which? Trusted trader member we have made it easier for customers to secure work with us and feel at ease using us as a company.”

‘Lewis Sweet – South East Stoves & Fires’ – 21st September 2018

In other words, it’s not something we give to everyone. But, if your application is successful, then you can start reaping the many rewards:

  • Benefit from the association with Which? Trusted Traders by displaying the endorsement icon alongside your own business logo & HETAS logo
  • Your own business profile featured on the Which? Trusted Traders website
  • A dedicated account manager to help you make the most of your endorsement and offer advice should you need it
  • Regular updates to help you stay on top of any legislative or regulation changes
  • Access to an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) service to help resolve any customer disputes
  • A subscription to the Which? Magazine

“We are prouder, have happy, safe customers. This results in more work, need I say more.”

Robert Wallace – Chimney Sweep, Chimney Build – 21st September 2018

As HETAS and Which? Trusted Traders are in Partnership, we can offer you a 50% discount on your first 6 months of being a Which? Trusted Trader. The application fee starts from £200 + VAT to get assessed for businesses with less than 19 employees. To find out more, please call us on 0117 981 2929 and quote PA-LEAF. Lines are open Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm. Alternatively, you can request a call back via https://trustedtraders.which.co.uk/for-traders/

SEO Masterclass | Part 2 | Building Trust

SEO Masterclass | Part 2 | Building Trust

Building Trust ImageWhen potential customers search for local businesses in their area you will need to make sure your website stands out from the crowd. The best way to do this is by proving the integrity and trustworthiness of your company. In part 2 of our SEO masterclass the HETAS marketing team talk about creating trust through your website.

Building Trust

HETAS Registered Businesses – Adding a HETAS registration mark to your website proves your operatives or sales staff have been HETAS trained, possess in-depth industry knowledge and will provide a professional service. HETAS is a well-established brand, and many consumers will be specifically searching for a HETAS registered business.

Always use the relevant HETAS registration mark for your type of business:

  • Registered Installer
  • Approved Servicing
  • HETAS Approved Chimney Sweep
  • Approved Retailer

Contact our friendly HETAS staff on 01684 278170 or email info@hetas.co.uk for your quality copy of the HETAS mark. We will need your name, HETAS ID and roughly what you would like to use the logo image for so we can send you the correct version of the file.

Please note that the corporate three tick logo is only used by HETAS itself for internal and marketing purposes – it will not be what the customer is looking for to prove that you are registered.

Remember to add your other accreditations too!

You can even link to your listing on the HETAS website. Head over to the ‘Find Installer‘ search, enter your four digit business in the ‘Check Business’ tab and then copy the URL.

Which? Trusted Trader

HETAS offers a reduced cost membership to Which? Trusted Trader. Unlike most other Trade comparison sites, Which? will assess tradespeople to ensure they have achieved high quality targets. Additionally, Which? holds its own industry awards that as a member you would have a chance of winning. The Which? Trusted Traders Logo alongside the HETAS logo on your website are a great combination to give visitors confidence in your services.

*In-bound links from well-known sites with good reputations like hetas.co.uk and Which? to your website will improve your search engine ranking. Try to limit the number of links that go from your site to other websites.*

Customer Feedback

Positive customer feedback is a great way to show the service you provide is of a high standard. However, be aware that you can also be given negative reviews, including fake comments which could have a negative impact on your business.

There are several ways in which your customers can provide feedback. These include:

  • Google reviews
  • Reviews/trade review sites
  • Allowing people to leave reviews directly on your website – be aware that due to the possibility of negative or fake reviews this may only suit certain large businesses who receive enough positive reviews to counter this.
  • Adding hand-picked testimonials to your own website will ensure visitors will only see positive feedback, but keep in mind that many visitors may not trust content that you have added yourself, rather than directly by a customer.

Keep us informed

Have you got a website or recently changed to a new website? Make sure you keep us informed so your listing with HETAS is up to date.

Part 3 of this Masterclass will be available in December.

Which? Carbon Monoxide Alarm Testing

Which? CO Alarm Testing

HETAS and The Council of Gas Detection and Environmental Monitoring (CoGDEM) are urging customers to purchase audible carbon monoxide (CO) alarms from well-known and recognised brands after a recent Which? report revealed a number of cheap and imported CO alarms to be unsafe and unreliable.

Which? recently put a number of CO detectors through rigorous lab testing based on the EU safety standard (EN 50291) for carbon monoxide alarms. The CO gas detection tests revealed that a group of cheap and imported CO alarms widely available online failed to detect the killer gas in more than a third of the tests.

In contrast, 13 CO alarms from leading brands that carry the BSI Kitemark™ (showing they meet the optimum standards for quality and reliability) passed every one of the tests.

Following pressure from the Which? investigation, Amazon and eBay have removed the defective alarms from sale. Which? has also alerted Trading Standards and CoGDEM regarding its findings.

HETAS CEO Bruce Allen said:

“Carbon monoxide is a highly dangerous gas that has no smell, taste or colour. We urge customers to purchase high quality audible CO alarms from reputable brands and retailers that meet European Standard (EN 50291). This is essential to helping protect individuals and families from the effects of CO poisoning.”

How can you protect yourself against CO poisoning?

  • Fit a quality audible CO alarm that meets European Standard (EN 50291) and is made by a trusted brand carrying the BSI Kitemark™
  • Keep rooms well ventilated when using a heating or cooking appliance fuelled by gas, oil or solid fuels such as coal or wood, and use the appliance correctly
  • Have all appliances, flues and chimneys installed and serviced by reputable and appropriately registered engineers, for example Gas Safe Registered engineers for all gas appliances
  • Never use outdoor appliances like barbecues, camping stoves and paraffin heaters, indoors
  • Ventilate garages when running a car or petrol generator
  • Have your chimney swept at least once a year
  • Ensure your landlord provides the legal annual safety check on installed gas appliances

Part 4 of the HETAS Guide lists a range of carbon monoxide alarms supplied by members of COGDEM which are claimed, or certified, to be manufactured to BS EN 50291 and which are suitable for use with solid fuel heating appliances.

For technical advice relating to carbon monoxide detectors and positioning please contact the HETAS Technical Helpline on 01684 278170 or email technical@hetas.co.uk.

Update from Which? Trusted Traders

Which? Trusted Trader LogoIn an ideal world, all feedback for your business would be positive and you’d get 5 star reviews for every job you carried out. Unfortunately, from time to time you might receive a customer complaint or a negative review online.Here are some tips from Which? Trusted Traders to help you deal with complaints and maintain your business reputation:

  • Know what your complaints policy is
  • Document all complaints in a written log. HETAS installers should keep records of all complaints for at least 6 years
  • Acknowledge and offer a course of action to resolve customer complaints within 28 days
  • Carry out remedial works within 8 weeks of customer agreement
  • Try to settle all complaints amicably.

If a complaint can’t be resolved between yourself and the customer, consider using an approved Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) body to try to reach a settlement.

If you decide to join Which? Trusted Traders, one extra benefit of membership is access to Ombudsman Services, an independent and impartial organisation which exists to facilitate dispute resolutions. They offer independent dispute resolution to all Which? Trusted Trader customers. If you have a dispute which has reached ‘deadlock’, you should encourage the customer to refer their complaint to Ombudsman Services.

Which? Trusted Traders have teamed up with HETAS to help give your business the edge. There are a number of other benefits to joining the scheme, including:

  • Use of the Which? Trusted Trader logo alongside the HETAS logo
  • A searchable profile on the Which? Trusted Traders website for all to see
  • You’ll benefit from brand marketing and advertising – TV, radio and online
  • Access to a dedicated customer support team and regular updates on regulatory changes that might affect your business – see some examples in the HETAS Technical Area

HETAS Registered Installers can benefit from 25% off Which? Trusted Traders annual membership fees for five years*. Call 0117 981 6201 for more information.

 

*25% off Which? Trusted Traders annual membership fees until 2021 (TTHETAS3). An initial assessment fee applies and is non-refundable. Visit www.hetas.co.uk for further information. Valid until 31st December 2016.

Tax Return Deadline

Tax return deadline: what traders need to know around deductible expenses?

Which? Trusted Trader LogoRegardless of whether you carry out the self-assessment yourself or use an accountancy firm, if you’re a self-employed professional in the biomass and solid fuel and heating appliance industry it’s important to be aware of what you could potentially declare as a tax deductible expense. Ahead of the online deadline of 31 January for self-assessment tax returns, Which? Trusted Traders looks at the expenses self-employed traders should be aware of and claiming against.

You can claim expenses against your tax bill – but not all business expenses qualify, so it’s important to make sure your claim is valid. In general, unless something you buy for your business is a capital asset- such as a computer or machinery (which you claim for under different rules) – you can deduct its full cost when working out your taxable profits and you get immediate tax relief for the full amount.

So what is tax deductible: You are not permitted to claim for non-business or personal expenditure, so it’s important to keep accurate records throughout the year.  Allowable expenses that are tax deductible include:

·         Professional fees: including accountancy, legal and professional indemnity insurance

·         Advertising: any promotion of your  business in newspapers, through mailshots and on your website

·         Bank, credit card and financial expenses: including overdraft and credit card charges, hire purchase and leasing payments

·         Communications and office costs: including phone, mobile, internet, postage, stationery printing and computer software

·         Car and van expenses: including insurance, repairs, servicing, fuel, parking, and your business AA/RAC membership

·         Cost of goods you are going to sell: such as the cost of raw materials and the direct cost of producing goods

·         Energy: including light, heat and power (if you use a home as office you need to only claim against the business proportion)

·         Insurance: as long as it is a business specific policy

·         Interest: on any bank loans or other business loans

·         Property costs: including insurance and security for business premises

·         Rent: on any business premises

·         Travel expenses: including train, bus, air and taxi fares, hotel costs and meals on overnight business trips

·         Wages and staff costs:  including salaries, pensions, staff benefits, and employers’ NICs

What about capital assets: Capital or fixed assets such as equipment, machinery, computers, or vans are permitted on items you use in your business that have a useful life of more than two years. If you are registered for VAT, you can only claim capital allowances on the net cost of the asset, excluding the VAT. If you are not registered for VAT, you can claim capital allowances on the total cost, including VAT.

For further help with your income tax bill or to use the Which? tax calculator for free please visit: money.which.co.uk/tax-calculator

For further information on becoming a Which? Trusted Traders please visit: trustedtraders.which.co.uk/for-traders  or call: 020 3603 5701 (don’t forget to mention your are HETAS registered)

Which? Trusted Traders examines the new Consumer Rights Act 2015

Which? Trusted Trader LogoThe Consumer Rights Act became law on 1 October 2015 and simplified, strengthened and modernised UK consumer legislation. The new legislation consolidates three big pieces of consumer law – the Sale of Goods Act, the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations and the Supply of Goods and Services Act. Whilst some of the language hasn’t changed that much, the remedies have, so let’s drill down to what the changes mean and how they will affect those biomass and solid fuel heating appliances, fuels and services industry.

Firstly goods, as an installer or service professional you have to ensure that these are:

  • of satisfactory quality
  • fit for any particular purpose
  • must match descriptions or samples
  • be correctly installed (where agreed as part of the contract).

Where goods don’t meet the above the consumer will now have a tiered remedy system that includes:

  • A 30 day short-term right to reject where a full refund can be sought and the refund must be given within 14 days of it being agreed (this right does not apply to faulty installations).
  • If the consumer chooses not to exercise the above right or is outside of the 30 days then they are entitled to claim for a repair or replacement, but the installer or tradesperson will only be given one opportunity to repair the goods, after that if the goods are still faulty then they can be rejected.
  • If a repair or replacement is not available, for example because an item is no longer in stock, then the consumer has the final right to reject the goods.
  • If the faulty goods caused additional damage to persons or property then there is a right to additional compensation.

As for evidence, if the consumer uses the short-term right to reject option they must demonstrate that the goods are faulty. Within six months the consumer also has the right to ask for a repair, replacement, price reduction or even the final right to reject faulty goods and the law assumes that the goods were faulty at the time of delivery. After six months the consumer must prove the goods were faulty at the time of purchase, this is known as the ‘reverse burden of proof’.

 

So, what about services?

Again the language is familiar, as a professional in your industry you must ensure the job must is carried out with reasonable care and skill. Anything written or verbally agreed with the consumer is binding. If no price was agreed beforehand, then only a reasonable price can be charged. Likewise, if no specific time for completion was agreed then you are obliged to carry it out within a reasonable time period.

The main change here is the remedy, consumers will have the right to a ‘repeat performance’ if the job isn’t done correctly the first time, or they can ask for a price reduction. Whilst, you the tradesperson or business, can make repeated attempts at getting the job done correctly you have to ensure it doesn’t cause significant inconvenience to the customer. If the job cannot be carried out satisfactorily then the customer can seek a price reduction that leads to a full refund.

Lastly, unfair terms, previously business to consumer contracts were subject to the old Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999 and this included all those items of small print in consumer contracts. The new Act has replaced them with a requirement for terms and contract notices to be fair making it easier for consumers to challenge hidden fees and charges.

A term is unfair if ‘contrary to the requirement of good faith, it causes a significant imbalance in the parties’ rights and obligations under the contract to the detriment of the consumer’. In other words if what you say is all in your favour and not the consumer’s then it will probably be regarded as unfair.

The new Consumer Rights Act details a blacklist of terms that will always be unfair and a ‘grey list’ that highlights terms that may be potentially unfair. The grey list is a list of terms where a suspicion of unfairness arises if a term has the object or effect of weighting terms unfairly against the consumer.

Stephen McCluskey, Managing Director at Which? Trusted Traders, said:

“Consumer law was crying out to be brought up to date to cope with the requirements and demands of today’s consumers. Getting a refund or repair and understanding contracts should now all be much simpler.

“Business and traders must ensure their teams are aware of the changes so they’re not caught out short-changing their customers or breaking the law.”

To support the new legislation HETAS members endorsed by Which? Trusted Traders will receive a free guide to the Consumer Rights Act 2015 or you can visit: www.which.co.uk/

For more information on Which? Trusted Traders please visit: www.hetas.co.uk/which-trusted-traders or call 020 3603 5701

The Consumer Rights Act

The Consumer Rights Act

The Consumer Rights ActBusinesses must adapt to the changes by reviewing their returns and complaints policies, checking their terms and conditions are compliant and training staff to comply with The Consumer Rights Act.

The Consumer Rights Act came into force on the 1 October 2015 and replaces a number of laws with regard to business-to-consumer transactions, including the Sale of Goods Act 1979 and the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982. click here to view more information.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is an option all businesses can benefit from when a dispute cannot be settled directly with the consumer. This covers a range of ways for settling a dispute between a consumer and a trader without taking legal action. ADR options (such as arbitration or mediation) can often be faster and better than going to court.  Approved ADR bodies for the purposes of the Alternative Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes (Competent Authorities and Information) Regulations 2015 can be found on the Chartered Trading Standards Institute website by clicking here. One benefit of being a Which? Trusted trader is access to Dispute Resolution Ombudsman, an ADR body. Discounted membership is available until the end of this year. Find out more at https://www.hetas.co.uk/which-trusted-traders.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

The UK government are implementing a European Directive for Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). This covers a range of ways for settling a dispute between a consumer and a trader without taking legal action. ADR options (such as arbitration or mediation) can often be faster and better than going to court.

Most UK businesses which sell products or services to domestic customers will need to comply. The law does not require that a business always agrees to complete the ADR process. However you may be required to give your customers details of a possible ADR provider. You may need to update your website, contract documentation and complaint processes  before 1st October. A good source of information is the Business Companion website provided by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute:

http://www.businesscompanion.info/en/quick-guides/consumer-contracts/alternative-dispute-resolution

If you are registered as an MCS Approved Installer, you may already have details from the Renewable Energy Consumer Code (RECC) of how to access arbitration/mediation services. RECC requires all members to be willing to participate in their binding arbitration, if the consumer has already tried other channels. https://www.recc.org.uk/news/new-adr-law-comes-into-force. If you are a CPS installer, HETAS is reviewing requirements for our sector. HETAS doesn’t intend to apply for approval to provide ADR in house. We don’t claim to be experts in contract rights and financial claims. However HETAS do expect to be in a position to inform installers about optional sources  of arbitration/mediation services, if an installer wishes to try another route to help settle a dispute with one of their customers.

At the moment there is a special offer for HETAS Registered Installers to join the Which? Trusted Traders. Their assessment process includes a visit from a Which? Trusted Traders assessor, looking into various aspects of the business such as business processes, documentation, staff and complaints procedures. One benefit of being a Which? Trusted trader is access to Ombudsman Services, an ADR body. This means you’re already ahead of the curve and shows your customers that you are serious about ensuring there is backup if something does go wrong.

Find out more at hetas.co.uk/which-trusted-traders

Which? Trusted Traders and HETAS

Which Trusted Traders Partnership with HETAS

Which Trusted Traders are excited to announce a new partnership with HETAS.

This exciting new partnership between Which Trusted Traders and HETAS allows HETAS registered installers a great opportunity to achieve a dual endorsement to help them stand out from the crowd. Additionally, the exciting collaboration will bring to life the aim to bring vetted and reputable traders in the biomass and solid fuel heating industry to consumers. The dual effort will also help raise standards in this industry, and help spread the word to consumers.

Speaking of the partnership, HETAS Business Development Manager Serena Sumner expresses:

“HETAS has a strong brand for safety and compliance in the wood, biomass and solid fuel sector. The Which? brand is highly recognised for being a champion for consumers and consumer protection.We are delighted to be linking our brands together to give consumers such high levels of confidence in HETAS Registered installers and their business practices. The partnership is most definitely a great thing for consumers and businesses alike. We look forward to working together.”

HETAS is the official body recognised by Government to approve biomass and solid fuel heating appliances, fuels and services, including the registration of competent installers and servicing businesses. For more information and how to apply please visit the Which? Trusted Traders page of the HETAS website.