The Consumer Codes Approval Scheme (CCAS) is a growing family of sector-specific consumer codes, each sponsored by an industry body and vetted by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI).
The scheme differs from many peer-review sites because those trading under it have made a public pledge to go above and beyond consumer law.
For example, all businesses operating under the scheme must engage in alternative dispute resolution (ADR) which allows customers to assert their rights without the expense of going to court.
The scheme is especially popular with businesses concerned with big-ticket household items, such as cars and double glazing and even housing itself, with specific codes for tenants and home owners.
CTSI is always ready to welcome more codes of practice to the scheme and is urging trade associations and similar bodies that are committed to reducing consumer detriment to come forward.
Adrian Simpson, CTSI’s consumer codes and business education expert, said: “It can be difficult for consumers to find a trustworthy trader that they can rely on.
“But CCAS members are committed to delivering high levels of customer satisfaction and engaging in dispute resolution, in the unlikely event something does go wrong.
“The scheme also helps businesses stand out from their competition by allowing them to display the codes approval logo, a clear message to consumers that they are a trader to be trusted.”
Christine Crawley, chair of the CCAS board, said: “Being part of an approved code of practice drives up customer standards and raises overall consumer trust, something which is very beneficial when there are so many businesses out there to choose from.
“By using an approved code member, you will have protection above and beyond your normal consumer law rights.
CCAS has more than 40,000 businesses operating under 24 codes of practice covering sectors as varied as carpets, cars and new home warranties. Some of the sponsors include the Motor Ombudsman, Bosch Car Service, RAC, The Property Ombudsman and the Institute of Professional Willwriters.
It was launched by CTSI in 2013 as part of a wider government review of consumer legislation and replaced a scheme operated by the defunct Office of Fair Trading.