The Furniture & Home Improvement Ombudsman (FHIO) has joined the support from the Competition and Markets Authority, Which? and Citizens Advice in response to the Government’s proposed strengthening of consumer protection and the steps to make Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mandatory within the Home Improvement sector, which was announced yesterday by Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng and Consumer Minister, Paul Scully.
Announcing these proposals in the new consultation on Reforming Competition and Consumer Policy, the Government said it will “make it mandatory for businesses to take part in arbitration or mediation where disputes arise over a transaction. This means both sides have an alternative to the time-consuming and potentially costly route through the courts, and levels the playing field for decent businesses who are doing the right thing”.
FHIO, which has been providing voluntary ADR to businesses in the home improvement industry for almost 30 years, welcomed the announcement. Kevin Grix, chief executive and chief ombudsman at FHIO, comments: “This announcement by the Government will go a long, long way to help protect even more consumers who fall in to dispute with a home improvement business - and further demonstrates that our existing members have been doing the right thing all along.
“Consumers need protection now more than ever. They should expect as a minimum to be treated fairly before, during and after their purchase and should have the comfort that if things go wrong there is an independent organisation to turn to. Good businesses who play by the rules have nothing to fear - with the right knowledge, practice and procedures in place many disputes are avoidable. Businesses who work with us are helping to raise standards and are best placed to learn from complaints in order to improve for the future.
“We look forward to contributing to the consultation and assisting the Government with these reforms.”