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New collaborations to boost consumer protection for gas customers
Published:  23 March, 2016

Two government-backed schemes, TrustMark and Gas Safe Register, are working together to provide consumer protection services to registered gas engineers and their customers. As part of a year’s pilot, they will also be informing and educating gas engineers about the new consumer protection law and the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Regulations, which both came into force on 1 October 2015.

With just over half of the complaints Gas Safe Register receives each year unrelated to gas safety issues, TrustMark and Gas Safe Register will pilot a scheme to help resolve these issues.

This will involve TrustMark providing access to support services for non-technical complaints with an independent first-stage dispute handling and conciliation service. Gas Safe registered engineers will also be able to use TrustMark’s certificated ADR services, which will help customers and businesses with a clear, simple and low-cost dispute resolution alternative to formal legal action.

In addition, gas engineers will have the opportunity to use TrustMark Escrow, a low-cost protection payment scheme to help protect their customers and themselves through a financial contract, and obtain trustworthy regulatory advice on any consumer issues relevant to their sector through TrustMark’s ‘assured advice’ with it’s Primary Authority partnership with Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards.

Simon Ayers, chief executive of TrustMark, said: “The collaboration between TrustMark and Gas Safe Register will bring a greater strength to the existing gas scheme by providing support and advice to gas engineers about good customer service practice, consumer protection law and the ADR Regulations. We are looking forward to working together and providing extra consumer protection for the many registered gas engineers and their customers.”

In addition to this news, the Welsh government has announced that it will be joining forces with Trustmark to promote its consumer protection service.

The integrated marketing campaign – which coincides with TrustMark’s 10th anniversary - will target Welsh traders whose businesses can benefit from gaining accreditation and also raise awareness of the scheme amongst consumers in Wales.

Economy Minister Edwina Hart said: “We have all heard harrowing cases of rogue traders and incompetent operators working in the home repair, maintenance and improvement market causing great distress, disruption and financial loss for many home owners. TrustMark was established to eliminate poor practice in this sector and helps householders find reputable local tradespeople who have been vetted and inspected to work on their properties. It covers the full range of trades in and around the home and acts as a signpost to help householders find local firms and expert tradespeople, providing them with choice, confidence and protection.”