Continued Trading Standards success

Trading Standards SuccessContinued Trading Standards success

HETAS continues to work with Trading Standards across the country to bring about enforcement action against installers who do not meet the required standards or mislead consumers into believing they are registered.

In a recent case against a rogue installer HETAS supported Trading Standards against an installer who was falsely claiming to be using HETAS registered installers for installation work when in fact they were not. The trader pleaded guilty to two offences under The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 and was handed the following:

  • Fine of £1,000
  • Victim surcharge of £100
  • Investigative costs of £1,126.10
  • Legal costs of £250
  • A total of £2,476.10.

It was identified that without a witness Statement for HETAS Trading Standards would most likely have not got the result they did. At any one time we are involved in a number of cases similar to this and work hard to protect the HETAS brand and consumers from being misled. If you are aware of a case then please do let us know so we can investigate and work with Trading Standards in bringing about enforcement.

Case Examples

Earlier in the year we shred an article about a rogue trader who 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.

Aided by HETAS entering a formal Primary Authority relationship with Trading Standards, we work in partnership with Gloucestershire Trading Standards and Trading Standards nationally to bring about far more enforcement action than before we entered the partnership.

Whistleblowing

The HETAS whistleblowing process has also been successful this year in allowing us to tackle installers who do not meet the required standards. This information is vital if we are to challenge installers not meeting the required standards of installation. Nobody wants bad installers working in our industry and HETAS is keen to work with all in the trade to root out the rogues.

The  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, Guild, NACS and Sweep Safe) allows us to provide the most up-to-date information and informed advice.”

Bruce Allen also comments, “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.

Contact the team

Get in touch on info@hetas.co.uk or contact Jo or the team directly on 01684 278170.

Recent Trading Standards action

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.

Whistleblowing

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.”

Primary Authority

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 info@hetas.co.uk 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.”

Get in touch

The complaints process is available by clicking here. Get in touch with Jo or the team direct to discuss whistleblowing on 01684 278170 or email info@hetas.co.uk.

Tackling Rogues

Tackling Rogues 2018Tackling Rogues 2018

As an organisation our purpose is to promote the safe and effective use of solid fuels, biomass and related technologies. We want to promote the use of professional installers and root out rogue tradesmen for our industry and we really want to hear from about bad installations that you come across. We have a number of routes to reporting this.

HETAS Complaints Process

HETAS is concerned with the safety, technical standard and compliance to Building Regulations of the work carried out by you, our registrants. As installers you are required to undertake specific training and be routinely monitored to be registered with HETAS. This helps us monitor that you are carrying out safe and compliant installations.

We do however understand that complaints can arise from time to time. Where HETAS investigate a complaint, we are aiming to establish whether the registrant is responsible for leaving a safety or Building Regulations defect and if so, to get that rectified by the registrant concerned.

Consumers are able to make complaints to HETAS within a two year time frame from the original installation. However, there are instances where HETAS can extend this two year policy should there be justifiable reasons to do so.

The HETAS Technical Area has supporting documents that can be used by our registrants to make the handling of complaints, checklists and contract examples. It is a requirement of HETAS registration that business have in place systems to ensure where a complaint is received there is a process to receive, record and deal with the complaint. See Conditions of Registration 1.8. Registered Business must ensure they keep records of complaints received for at least six years.

Whistleblowing

Ultimately HETAS wants to hear from customers where there are instances of non-compliance so we can fully investigate and support them in having an installation rectified or brought up to the expected standard. There are instances where this might not be possible and our whistleblowing policy might be more suitable. Running for a number of years, this process has enabled HETAS to investigate issues with both registrants and where appropriate non-registrants who aren’t meeting the high standards expected in our industry. The whistleblowing process is anonymous, open to registered installers, consumers and non-registered installers to report and has proven successful in gathering information for HETAS to tackle non-compliance. Get in touch with the team on 01684 278170 or via our website at info@HETAS.co.uk if you want to discuss this process in more detail.

Consumer Rights Act 2015

The Consumer Rights Act has minimum standards that apply to most contracts between a business and customer. Customers generally have up to 6 years from provision of a product or service in which to make a claim. HETAS with support from Gloucestershire Trading Standards (via our Primary Authority partnership) provided guidance in Technical Bulletin #6 for our registrants on customer contracts and The Consumer Rights Act. Visit the HETAS Technical Area to download the guidance. Further guidance is available in the Technical Area from HETAS and Which Trusted Traders.

Enforcement

Taking enforcement action applies to registrants who do not meet the standards required for registration with HETAS. A number of businesses have been suspended and removed from the registration scheme last year and we always want to know about installers who aren’t complying with standards.

Misleading Claims

HETAS always wants to hear about businesses who falsely claim to be HETAS registered or appear to be misusing the HETAS brand. As a Primary Authority HETAS works in partnership with Gloucestershire Trading Standards and has successfully supported Trading Standards nationally in enforcement through the courts. Consumer protection regulations specifically ban businesses from displaying any quality mark or equivalent they are not accredited for, or from giving deceptive information. Please get in touch with our team with any concerns you might have.

There are a number of ways you can contact the team:

Tel: 01684 278170

Email: info@hetas.co.uk

Tackling Rogues/Whistleblowing/ Logo Misuse

As an organisation our purpose is to promote the safe and effective use of solid fuels, biomass and related technologies. HETAS is keen to work with industry to tackle rogues and promote reputable businesses.

Tackling Rogues

Nobody wants bad installers working in our industry and HETAS is keen to work with all in the trade to root out the rogues.

Enforcement against rogue traders and those pretending to be HETAS registered has become more common in recent years, aided by HETAS entering a formal Primary Authority relationship with Trading Standards. We work in partnership with Gloucestershire Trading Standards and Trading Standards nationally to bring about more enforcement action than before we entered the partnership. Our registration team have provided numerous and regular Witness Statements to support legal enforcement nationwide.

Talking to HETAS installers every day, we know that you are keen to know that we do in fact deal with installers who undertake very poor work whether registered with us or not.  We agree and a number of businesses have been suspended and/or removed from the registration scheme this year. On the other side of the coin we have had complaints about installers that are not justified and in these cases 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.

Whistleblowing

HETAS has a whistleblowing procedure for reporting of non-compliance issues on an anonymous basis. The HETAS whistle-blowing process has also proven effective as a means for registrants to notify HETAS of non-complaint work. Our marketing team also monitor social media posts. Ultimately, contact with homeowners is the best way for HETAS to investigate a complaint effectively, our complaints process can be viewed by clicking here. Get in touch with the HETAS team to discuss whistleblowing on 01684 278170 or email info@hetas.co.uk.

Logo Misuse

Sadly there are times when non-registered businesses misuse the HETAS 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 HETAS brand, please let us know so we can initiate our processes. In more complex cases we do have to work with Trading Standards and we have a number of recent cases of enforcement by Trading Standards. Get in touch with the team on info@hetas.co.uk along with evidence of brand misuse.

 

Get in touch with the HETAS team to discuss tackling rogues, whistleblowing or logo misuse.

Enforcement Action

In the October edition of the HETAS e-news we featured a piece on tackling rogue installers. Throughout 2016 the HETAS team has worked hard with enforcement agencies to tackle rogue installers and we want to continue that work into 2017 and need your help.

 During 2016 HETAS continued to work with enforcement agencies to tackle rogue installers, as highlighted in the recent Glyn Mayne, who traded as ‘Nostalgia Home’ case. In this case ten different customers came forward, from all over south east Wales, and every person who contacted Trading Standards complained about poor workmanship and that they had all believed Mayne to be HETAS registered when he was not.

Prosecution

Glyn Norman Mayne appeared at Cardiff Crown Court on 20th July 2016 for sentencing, having previously pleaded guilty to one charge of fraud and 15 charges under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. He was sentenced to 8 months imprisonment suspended for two years, ordered to carry out 160 hours of unpaid work, ordered to pay compensation totalling £4,950 to be paid to 8 of the customers, and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £100.

Enforcement such as this has become more common in recent years, aided by HETAS becoming a Trading Standards Primary Authority, working in partnership with Gloucestershire Trading Standards and Trading Standards nationally to bring about enforcement action. Our registration team and management have provided countless Witness Statements to Trading Standards agencies nationwide.

Taking enforcement action also applies to registrants who do not meet the standards required for registration with HETAS. A number of businesses have been suspended and removed from the registration scheme this year and we always want to know about installers who aren’t complying with standards

The HETAS whistle-blowing process has also proven effective as a means for registrants to notify HETAS of non-complaint work. Our marketing team also monitor social media posts. Ultimately, contact with homeowners is the best way for HETAS to investigate a complaint effectively, our complaints process can be viewed by clicking here.

HETAS always wants to hear about businesses falsely claiming to be HETAS registered, appear to be misusing the HETAS brand or those who do not comply with standards and regulations. Please get in touch with our team with any concerns you might have about rogue traders in your area or non-compliant installations you have encountered. The team on the Technical Helpline is also on hand to discuss the required action to take when identifying non-compliance with Building Regulations. In 2017, the HETAS team will also share details on a new unsafe situation procedure.

Click here for contact details for the HETAS team.