Clearview South March 2014 - Issue 148 - Page 10

INDUSTRYNEWS OFT WELCOMES WEATHERSEAL’S COMMITMENT TO IMPROVE ITS BUSINESS PRACTICES Following an OFT investigation, national double glazing company Weatherseal Home Improvements Limited (Weatherseal) has agreed to make changes to its business practices when selling energy efficiency and home improvement products. Review of the sector published in January 2013, which found instances of poor practice towards consumers such as the use of high pressure sales techniques, unclear information about paperwork and cancellation rights, and poor quality installations. The investigation stemmed from a wider OFT consumer protection review of the energy efficiency sector, following which the OFT is working with local Trading Standards Services and other partners to drive better practices by companies. The OFT raised concerns with Weatherseal about the conduct of some of its self-employed sales agents when selling to people in their home. ‘This led to the OFT: sending Advisory letters to over 50 of the leading installers’ CONSUMERS UNDER PRESSURE.... For instance, some consumers complained that they felt pressured to make a purchase and that the terms of credit used to purchase products were not always clearly explained. The OFT also had concerns about the training provided to sales agents to ensure that they complied with consumer law and about the handling of customer complaints and enquiries. Weatherseal cooperated fully with the OFT’s investigation. Whilst the company said that it had already made changes to how it conducted its business and that it believed its practices complied with the law, following consultation it has given assurances about its future conduct, in particular that it will: • improve the training given to its agents concerning sales techniques and regulatory compliance • ensure that customers are clearly informed of the terms of any credit agreement they enter into 10 MAR 2014 • provide customers with accurate information about their cancellation rights • make a follow-up call to each customer who has placed an order to confirm that they have been left with copies of documents, understand what they are agreeing to, and that they still wish to proceed • ensure that complaints and enquiries are dealt with in a timely, reasonable and professional manner. The OFT has also received similar assurances from Window Care Limited, a compa