Once you are a member we will seek to monitor ongoing compliance with our scheme terms and conditions on a continuing basis. This may include tracking any consumer complaints and enquiries received by us, Citizens Advice or any Regulator or body with whom you claim membership or are required to be registered with. We may also carry out periodic re-audits, the frequency will be based on a risk assessment of your business.
We will inform you in good time when your renewal is due and how much the coming years membership fees will be. In making any annual or membership renewal payment you are confirming that you continue to accept and comply with the current published BWC terms and conditions and that you wish to continue as a member of the BWC scheme.
It is essential that we collect the fees due on time and we will suspend or revoke membership if fees are not paid.
Your administering authority will make arrangements to invoice you for fees due and such invoices will state due dates and payment methods.
Voluntarily Ending your Membership
If you no longer wish to be a member of the Buy With Confidence scheme please contact your local scheme operator or the central hub to effect cancellation. You should be aware that our membership is annual and you will be invoiced each year on the anniversary of your acceptance. If you choose to leave during the current invoicing period you will not be refunded for the remaining period and, if you pay monthly you will be invoiced for any amount outstanding between the date of cancellation and the next renewal date.
We would appreciate any feedback you can give on why you wish to leave the scheme so that we can continue to adapt our offer to ensure it remains valuable to our members and consumers.
Breaches of the Terms and Conditions
The success of the scheme relies on the performance of business members with each business trading on its own reputation and everyone relying on other scheme members to keep the Buy With Confidence reputation high.
As scheme operators we therefore need to be able to take sanctions against businesses who do not meet the scheme standards, but we also recognise that businesses will often need help to identify what they need to do.
We therefore have a number of options where businesses fail to meet the scheme requirements; these include:
- Additional advice which may be verbal or in writing
- Warning letters which may set out dates by which actions are required
- Increased frequency of audits, focussing on problem areas; we may also set out dates by which actions need to be completed
- Suspension of membership pending completion of remedial actions
- Termination of membership
We will be flexible and proportionate when taking these actions and will take a risk-based approach. We will promptly inform members of our concerns and proposed actions and where possible will seek to work with our businesses to find the best solutions.
The above actions may be taken for any breaches of the terms and conditions, sanctions can also be applied whilst investigations into alleged breaches are ongoing. Particular seriousness will be attached to any alleged or proven breaches, therefore the stricter sanctions likely to be applied, if they concern any of the below.
Criminal Offences and Other Breaches of Legislation
Trading Standards Officers are responsible for the enforcement of much of the legislation which regulates how businesses operate. Each local authority will have its own policies and processes to ensure that officers deliver services in a planned way.
Most local authorities will have committed to comply with:
- The Enforcement Concordat
- The Regulators Compliance Code
- Locally published enforcement and prosecution policies
If there is evidence of an alleged offence or breach of statutory duty by a BWC applicant or member we may take further action in respect of that offence or breach. Membership of the BWC scheme does not confer immunity from prosecution. Local authorities are individually responsible for deciding whether to take enforcement action, which may include prosecution, amongst other options. Accordingly, any query about a current investigation or criminal proceedings must be addressed to the relevant authority.
Please note that where there is evidence of criminal or other breaches of legislation, suspension or termination of membership is NOT dependent on a successful prosecution of that business.
We promote BWC as a source of reliable businesses and an essential part of this promotion is to enable older and more vulnerable persons to maintain and remain in their own homes. We would regard any act or omission which is not in the best interest of or may be detrimental to the safety, health or well-being of customers falling within the description ‘adult at risk’, ‘vulnerable adult’; ‘child’ or similar term, as unacceptable.
We would regard abuse of any relationship, relative status and/or technical knowledge, harassment, inappropriate behaviour and/or language as having the potential to become a safeguarding concern and therefore grounds for a membership sanction to be imposed.
Use of the BWC Logo
When applying the BWC logo or wording to your stationery, adverts, vehicles etc. please remember that if your membership of the BWC scheme should end for any reason, permission to use the logo and statements will be revoked with immediate effect. All certificates and documentation indicating membership of the scheme shall be returned to the administering authority within 14 days. This may result in your business having to amend adverts; vehicle livery etc. The administering authority/BWC will not accept any responsibility or liability for costs incurred in doing so.
All certificates and documentation indicating membership of the scheme shall remain the property of the scheme operator and/or the Buy With Confidence Partnership, and shall be returned in the event that membership ends. Customers responding to advertisements on the basis of the logo, e.g. via Yellow Pages, must be informed of the withdrawal of approval.
Should you continue to use the logo and/or the words ‘Trading Standards Approved’ after your membership has been terminated, whilst your membership is suspended (subject to any agreed terms), or because you have left the scheme for any other reason, you may be committing a criminal offence.
Additionally the Trade Mark owner, its agents and/or licensees reserve the right to take such legal action as it deems necessary to protect its ownership of the logo and materials associated with the BWC scheme and brand.
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