Protecting consumers - supporting business
At last week’s Planning, Protective Services and Licensing (PPSL) Committee meeting the council officially launched our Buy With Confidence (BWC) scheme, a national initiative with a local focus.
This scheme, used by a number of local authorities across the UK, provides consumers with a list of approved traders in their area - local businesses that have given their commitment to fair trading.
Buy With Confidence gives people the reassurance that the members have been vetted by our trading standards team, are committed to trading fairly and deliver a high level of customer service.
For members, the Buy With Confidence initiative gives them the independent support and advice of trading standards, helps to promote their business and reduces the threats posed to legitimate businesses by rogue traders.
Hugh Smith, a painter and decorator from Helensburgh, one of the first two traders to join the scheme, said: ‘’For me one of the main benefits of the scheme is the ability to work with Argyll and Bute Council’s trading standards team, knowing that they can give me advice and support. For my customers they will have the comfort of knowing that all my paperwork has been checked by trading standards officers and that I have all the correct insurances and such in place so that people will get what they pay for. It’s an endorsement, a huge big tick that says I’m a fair trader.’’
Liam Harvey, of Lochgilphead based electrical contractor APE Solutions Ltd, was happy to join the scheme, saying: ‘’Being a Buy With Confidence member reinforces our commitment to good customer service. Ask any small business and they’ll tell you that customers are the biggest asset you can have; we have a commitment to them and this scheme endorses us, letting people know that we supply a proper service. It’s a two-way street and it’s always good to know you have trading standards professionals at your back, and that they can give you free, impartial advice in case of any disputes.’’
Alan Morrison, the council’s regulatory services manager, said of the scheme: ‘’We’re very pleased to be launching this scheme. It gives consumers in Argyll and Bute a list of traders that we endorse, that have undergone a number of detailed checks and who are supported by good references. Practices of businesses in the scheme, such as our first two members, who we are delighted to have on board, meet consumer protection requirements. People know that by using these businesses they will not be disadvantaged; there are appropriate measures in place to protect them. People should keep a look out for the BWC logo.’’
In order to become a BWC member, a business must apply or be recommended to join the scheme and must then pass a set of tailored background checks. Membership of the scheme is not given lightly – amongst other checks, each applicant will have their complaints history reviewed and will receive a visit from trading standards.
Good references are required from previous customers and applicants must agree to abide by the scheme's code of conduct, which requires them to follow the letter and spirit of the law.
Only if all the scheme requirements are met will a business be granted membership and their conduct will be continually monitored.
Members in other local authorities have been very positive about the costs and benefits of being a BWC member. The council intends to set fees for membership of the scheme at £95 per year, with a further £25 for a disclosure check per employee.
Further information is available on the council website at:
If businesses are interested in joining the scheme they should call Argyll and Bute Council’s trading standards team on 01546 605519.