The safety and well-being of customers and other persons is of paramount importance.
It is your responsibility to ensure that when working in your customer’s home, garden or other premises you follow appropriate safe working practices so as to avoid placing yourself, your customer or other persons at risk of injury.
In particular any power tools, cables, ladders, scaffolding, chemicals, paints and other hazardous materials must be used and stored in accordance with manufacturers’ instructions. You should also follow any relevant safe working procedures published by manufacturers of equipment, the Health and Safety Executive or as part of industry standard guidelines.
You should ensure that you leave your customer’s home secure and that any equipment or materials stored on site are in a safe and secure condition.
We promote the Buy With Confidence Scheme as ‘Trading Standards Approved’ and consumers use the scheme because they need the confidence that this delivers.
You should therefore recognise that some customers will be vulnerable due to their age, mental and/or physical condition or will need your expertise to determine what goods or services are suitable for their needs. Such customers may take longer to reach appropriate decisions, require more information and guidance and you should ensure that they are given sufficient time for this.
You must not treat customers in a discriminatory way. Customers must be treated equally and in a polite and courteous manner, regardless of age, disability, HIV status, marital status, race, religion/belief, gender/sex, sexuality, sexual orientation, national origin or ethnicity.
We also regard ‘pressure selling’, as having an adverse effect on well-being; this will include undue emphasis of the benefits of warranties, insurances and ancillary products.
You should ensure that the benefits of any warranty, insurance or ancillary product are available to the customer and applicable to the way in which the customer might reasonably use the product.
You should not undertake excessively long sales pitches, offer falsely described discounts or other benefits for immediate sales, or adopt any similar practice with the aim of applying undue pressure on the consumer to reach a decision to purchase.
You must ensure that customers have been provided with a full, complete and clear indication of the price, or how the price will be calculated, before they agree to purchase goods and services.
When dealing with consumers (rather than businesses), you should also ensure that all prices are quoted inclusive of applicable taxes (such as VAT).
The price of goods and services is a matter for negotiation between the business and consumer and we do not require that businesses offer the lowest or best value prices for the goods and services provided. However we would regard persistent high pricing, or an individual incident of excessive/extortionate pricing, particularly where there is an element of exploitation, as detrimental to the well-being of customers.
Deposits and advance payments
We recognise that for many businesses a deposit is essential to ensure that customers are committed to purchase the relevant goods and services.
However the amount of a deposit should not be excessive and should reflect the potential loss to the business should the customer cancel before work begins. Excessive deposits can be unfair, amount to a contractual penalty and as such will be regarded as a breach of the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999.
Advance payments may be for the purpose of purchasing materials, hiring equipment etc, to commence work. Where part-payment is required in advance of work being completed, perhaps to fund the purchase of expensive materials or equipment, this should be clearly identified as such in the contract.