Ombudsman schemes are well known and in place to protect consumers and the wider public. You often hear about the larger ones in the media – such as Ofgem or Ofcom –and they have been known to help consumers get a better deal overall. There are a number of other Ombudsman schemes, though, that many have perhaps never heard of. They are just as important in protecting consumers and unless you need them you may never hear about them.
At 1st Scenic we are proud to be members of the Double Glazing and Conservatory Ombudsman Scheme (DGCOS). What does this mean for you, the consumer? We take a look at the benefits available to you.
What is an Ombudsman
An Ombudsman is an organisation that has complete independence and is able to provide dispute resolution with absolute authority. The purpose of this is to settle a dispute to the satisfaction of both parties without the need to go to court. They will make a final decision that is deemed to be fair and just and have the authority to make financial awards for things such as breach of contract, loss, distress, or inconvenience. An Ombudsman service is free for consumers.
What is the Double Glazing and Conservatory Ombudsman Scheme?
It is an independent body that represents installers and supports consumers. Installers go through a rigorous accreditation process to demonstrate their credentials and experience. This includes things such as:
- Credit, background and trading checks
- Checking that suitable health and safety policies are in place
- Checking that installers carry insurance policies of a minimum of £2 million for public liability and £10 million for employer’s liability
- Ensuring that customers have a written contract and terms and conditions in place before work can begin
- Providing customers with:
- Written guarantees
- Deposit protection insurance
- Insurance backed guarantees
- Allowing inspectors from the Double Glazing and Conservatory Ombudsman Scheme to inspect installations should it become necessary
- Offering a satisfaction questionnaire to all customers
Accredited installers will also have agreed to submit to the legal jurisdiction of the Double Glazing and Conservatory Ombudsman Scheme and the Ombudsman.
Find out a little more about why accreditation is important for both installers and consumers:
How does it benefit you as a consumer?
It does exactly what an Ombudsman service is expected to do, including:
- Peace of mind that you are hiring an approved and accredited installer
- Consumer protection
- Free deposit protection insurance
- Free staged payment protection should an installer cease to trade
- Free backed insurance guarantee should an installer cease to trade
- Free dispute resolution service
- Independent arbitration should something go wrong
- Offering access to product information to enable you to make informed choices
This video tells you a little more about it as well and introduces some of the key individuals involved with the scheme:
Who is behind the Double Glazing and Conservatory Ombudsman Scheme?
As well as a team of experts in doors, windows and conservatories the Double Glazing and Conservatory Ombudsman Scheme has two key brand ambassadors: Nick Ross, a champion for consumers rights, and George Clarke, a well-known architect and home improvement advocate. Here’s a little behind-the-scenes time with the team: