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INDUSTRYNEWS


THE GLAZING OMBUDSMAN (TGO)


An Ombudsman Scheme has been launched for the industry to provide redress for disputes which arise between consumers and installers. This scheme is a ‘no-frills, hassle free’ service for both consumers and the industry which provides a totally impartial judgement on any matters raised with the Ombudsman. The TGO service is free to the consumer and the Ombudsman’s decisions are binding on the installers. The Ombudsman scheme is designed to offer consumers and installers an alternative to potentially expensive legal action when problems arise.


The Glazing Ombudsman service will be


provided by The Property Ombudsman, which is the established Ombudsman scheme for the property industry and has been operating for over 20 years. The Ombudsman therefore brings a great breadth of experience in dispute resolution to the new scheme which is sponsored by FENSA and the GGF.


The scheme is a mutual scheme and therefore companies that register are effectively part-owners of the scheme, i.e. the balance sheet is owned by its Members.


WHO CAN JOIN TGO?


All companies are welcome to join TGO. Companies will be comprehensively vetted and they must:





Install windows, doors, conservatories or roofline products in dwellings within the UK. If a company installs windows or doors in England and Wales they must be a member of a Competent Persons Scheme.


• Follow The Glazing Ombudsman’s Code of Practice.


• Agree to the Ombudsman’s Terms of Reference.


• Follow the Registered Business Rules of TGO membership.


• Have various insurance policies in place (e.g. IBG’s, Deposit Protection/Work in Progress Insurance for a minimum of 90 days, which can be extended to at least 120 days, £10m employer’s liability, £2m public liability).


• Provide customers with a fair and clear Contract of Sale with a seven day cooling-off period, clear cancellation procedures, clear complaints’ procedure and give clear access information on TGO.


• Pass credit checks. • Have health and safety policies in place.


Regardless of whether a company is already a member of a trade association/scheme, any self certification scheme, insurance company or Trust Mark, they are all welcome to join TGO.


WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS FOR INSTALLERS JOINING TGO?


When you become a TGO member, you will be


vetted and must comply with scheme standards that are higher than those required under current Building Regulations. This is achieved by adherence to our Code of Practice.


There are a range of benefits to your business from TGO membership:


• Provides greater confidence and peace of mind in your products and services.


• Distinguishes you from your competition, providing you with a benchmark suggesting quality and transparency.


• Impartial dispute resolution.


• Saves you and your customer legal fees should a dispute arise.


• Saves you and your customer time and inconvenience.


• No need to buy extra insurance. • Affordable and uncomplicated service.


THE OMBUDSMAN


The Ombudsman service is undertaken by Mr Christopher Hamer who has been The Property Ombudsman since 2006. Prior to this he held, over a number of years, a series of posts in various ombudsman schemes such as The Personal Investment Authority Ombudsman Bureau. He therefore brings a wide breadth of experience to The Glazing Ombudsman Scheme.


WHAT ABOUT CONSUMERS?


For consumers, the process to complain to the Ombudsman will be simple and hassle-free providing a final award, if appropriate, of up to £25,000. The award will be binding on the TGO members but consumers will be free to refuse the award and pursue their complaint through the courts. Customers may only use the TGO Scheme to complain about the goods supplied or work performed by members of the TGO scheme.


For further information of The Glazing Ombudsman or to join, please go to www. glazingombudsman.com or telephone Katie Poynter in Membership on 020 7397 7200.


HOWMUCH DOES IT COST TO JOIN TGO?


The annual fee structure has been set initially at £375 plus VAT per annum per business (or £225 plus VAT for FENSA Registered Businesses ). There is also an initial first year set up of £150 plus VAT and a vetting fee of £100 plus VAT (also for the first year only). The Glazing Ombudsman is sponsored by the Glass and Glazing Federation and FENSA to provide financial stability, but in future the costs may be reduced or increased dependent upon the cost of the scheme going forward and it is hoped that the scheme will be self-financing in its second year.


Christopher Hamer, The Ombudsman.


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