1.1 Buy With Confidence aims to offer an inclusive policy towards all types of business operating lawfully and in the community interest.
1.2 However, the managing authority reserves the right to refuse membership to any applicant which it feels does not satisfy the criteria laid down in the Terms and Conditions. It may, as an alternative to refusal, impose certain conditions that need to be satisfied prior to confirmation of membership.
1.3 Membership is available to individuals, partnerships and any other legal entity created under the law applicable to business. Where the legal status of the entity granted membership changes we may terminate that membership. It is the responsibility of the member business to notify the scheme operator of any changes as soon as reasonably practicable.
2 The Community Interest Test
2.1 We apply a community interest test as BWC exists to promote the interests of both consumers and businesses and in doing so reflects on the reputation of both business members and local authorities.
2.2 We are therefore likely to decline applications from businesses where:
- There is no demonstrable benefit to consumers or other customers in the goods or services being supplied by the business.
- The goods or services offer an alleged benefit which is not capable of being substantiated.
- The goods or services being offered cannot be lawfully supplied in the EU.
- Services of a broadly financial investment nature, that rely on the future value of goods or land, speculation on commodity, shares or other products, unless the products, business and sales representatives are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority or similar regulator.
- The goods or services being offered are such that the local authority or other business members would incur a risk to their reputation by association.
- The goods or services being offered are of a religious, spiritual or personal belief nature such that membership might be construed as endorsing that religion or belief.
3 Applying the Terms and Conditions Test
3.1 In order to establish that an applicant meets the Terms and Conditions of membership we will conduct an audit. If we are unable to complete the audit, either because we are unable to obtain satisfactory evidence of compliance, because we are unable to complete a satifactory visit to the business premises, or because the information requested has not been supplied, we will decline membership.
3.2 Sometimes the nature of the business or the way it operates, whilst perfectly legitimate and lawful, makes it very difficult to complete the membership audit. This can be a problem where the applicant business relies on sub-contractors, casual labour or acts as an agency in order to deliver services.
4.1 Membership is subject to an audit which is designed to ensure that the applicant business complies with the Terms and Conditions of the scheme and the approval is only valid for those activities which we have been able to audit. If your business operates in such a way that some activities are not suitable for Buy With Confidence membership or you only want the membership for specific parts of your business, you must tell us.
4.2 Where the applicant operates as a broker, agent, trade or professional association, or itself provides a recommended or approved trader list, we will require the applicant to demonstrate how they will indicate that the scheme membership applies solely to their activities as broker, agent etc. We will therefore seek additional assurances from such applicants and may decline membership if we are unable to reach such an agreement.
4.3 Similarly if businesses intend to use the BWC logo on product packaging, they must demonstrate how they will show the scheme membership applies to the business and is not specific approval for that product.
5 Regional and National Businesses
5.1 If your business operates across more than one local authority area we will discuss with you how to administer your membership. In general the BWC managing authority for the are where your head office, registered limited company address or where the business’s senior decision-making staff are based, will be your administering authority.
5.2 If you operate regionally or nationally, with a significant number of branches or provide services over a very large geographic area, we will discuss with you how best to manage your application and support your membership. We may do this through our regional organisation, nominate one authority to act as a lead or a combination of this. We will discuss these arrangements, together with an appropriate fee.
5.3 If you are based in an authority which does not currently provide/support Buy With Confidence, you should apply using the form on our website, but we may need the agreement of the ‘non- BWC’ authority to process your application.
6 Brokers, Agencies and Similar Businesses
6.1 We do not discourage applications from businesses who operate as brokers or agencies but there are some practical considerations which can make such applications difficult to process.
6.2 Buy With Confidence is a certification mark. It is designed to provide an assurance to the public that the member business will comply with the scheme requirements. This means that it must only be used in connection with the activities of the member business, and in the case of agencies and brokers this cannot be extended to include the activities of third parties identified and/or introduced by broker or agency to deliver goods and services to the ultimate consumer.
6.3 We would always require that a broker or agency placed a contractual requirement on any third party to comply with applicable legislation, code of practice or statutory requirement. Further the third party must be contractually required to deliver the goods and services as agreed between the broker or agency and the consumer.
6.4 We would also expect any third party to comply with the objectives and principles of Buy With Confidence.
6.5 We may provide brokers, agencies and similar businesses with specific additional requirements as to the use of the Buy With Confidence logo and related promotional material so as to ensure that the logo is used in such a way as to avoid confusion as to membership.
6.5 Where the applicant business intends to provide goods and services predominantly through the use of sub-contractors we may apply the above requirements.
7.1 Businesses will at all times be fully liable and responsible for the actions and omissions of all sub-contractors.
7.2 You will ensure that sub-contractors comply, as far as practicable, with the requirements of your Buy With Confidence membership.
7.3 You should ensure that sub-contractors are provided with adequate information to ensure that the goods and services they provide comply with applicable legislation, codes of practice and contractual specifications.
7.4 Where businesses regularly sub-contract work to the same restricted group of sub- contractors we reserve the option to require all such businesses/persons to apply for membership so as to provide a wider benefit to consumers.
7.5 Businesses that regularly sub-contract to a restricted group should consider seeking advice as to the status of such arrangements and in particular whether such arrangements amount to the creation of a partnership, an employee/employer contract or established other liabilities.