TrustMark provides assured advice to its firms

In the UK we have undergone a period of sweeping change in consumer protection, with the Government wanting to give consumers more confidence and legal back-up to deal with bad service or shoddy goods.

The introduction of the Consumer Rights Act and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) from 1 October means that the law is now clearer and easier to understand, enabling consumers and businesses to have a better understanding of their rights. On the rare occasions when problems do arise, consumers are also able to sort out disputes more quickly and cheaply.

Our primary concern is to advise our Scheme Operators and TrustMark registered firms on how their rights and responsibilities will change under this new legislative framework, so we have developed a ‘primary authority’ partnership with Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards, to provide assured advice on any consumer issues relevant to the home improvement and repair sector. The first outcome of this collaboration has been a joint guidance for our registered firms about the new consumer rights and remedies, which has also included scenarios and advice.

We are also encouraging effective relationships between all parties through our alternative method of dispute resolution. By being an approved ADR provider, TrustMark’s Scheme Operators and registered firms are now compliant with these new requirements and have the option to offer their customers a clear, simple and low cost dispute resolution alternative to formal legal action should things go wrong. This will be available for contracts to the value of £100,000 and both parties will be able to use the service as a ‘pay as you go’ with no annual fee or costs.

It is vital that we have transparent rights to help homeowners make better choices, save time and money when they employ tradespeople to carry out work around their homes. If tradespeople embrace these new rules and make sure they treat their customers fairly, this in turn will boost consumer confidence and create a better reputation for their trades.

For further information and to stay up to date with developments at TrustMark, visit

Simon Ayers is Chief Executive of TrustMark, the only Government-endorsed scheme for all trades in and around the home.