Consumer protection message still vital

Graham Ball, CEO of the KBSA

Having been involved in the KBSA for many years I have heard enough stories to know that there will always be unscrupulous businesses and trades people out there trying to make a quick buck, writes Graham Ball, CEO of the KBSA.

The KBSA and other trade associations and organisations such as Trustmark want to help consumers make the right decisions and avoid rogue traders wherever possible but it does not always work.

Many will remember Vance Miller, arguably Britain’s most notorious ‘Rogue Trader’. Vance’s company ‘Kitchens’, based in Oldham, Lancashire, was the first ever business to receive a Stop Now Order from The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) back in 2002. This effectively told him to stop delivering poor quality kitchens to unsuspecting consumers.

It is therefore no surprise but sad to see a recent news item about a kitchen fitter from Plymouth that has been prosecuted for fraud, having sold a £10,000 kitchen that was never going to be delivered to a customer.

I do not know all the details of this case so cannot comment but it is unfortunate that all of the expert advice and essential guidelines published by the KBSA and others could not avoid this situation.

It is a timely reminder that our work is never done and we must continue to communicate as widely as we can the very important messages we have to help consumers and keep rogue traders at bay as much as possible.

The digital revolution means that we have many more channels of communication now than we did in Vance Miller’s day.  We are busy utilising all of them and I would urge anyone considering allowing a retailer or a tradesperson into their home to visit the KBSA and the Trustmark websites.

Graham Ball is the CEO of the KBSA. The Kitchen Bathroom Bedroom Specialists Association (KBSA) brings together over 300 fully accredited, UK based independent, retailers. Each KBSA member provides all the expertise required to design and install a new or updated fitted kitchen, bathroom, bedroom or home office.

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One thought on “Consumer protection message still vital

  1. By definition rogue traders do not follow guidelines , so no matter what safeguards are put in place there will always be some who trade recklessly .
    Now do you have to be a KBSA member to be reputable , financially sound or be of good character , obviously not .
    In excess of 90% of the kitchen retailers in the UK are non KBSA members , yet the majority of consumers will have a good experience , so who is out of step .
    Is the consumers money SAFE with non KBSA members :
    There are many ways to protect the consumer without having to pay a hefty membership fee ,
    Bondpay , consumer protection association , section 75 protection to name a few .
    One would assume that if the majority of consumers were asking for this type of protection , then more kitchen retailers would offer it , so this implies that there is still an element of trust within the industry ,and if insurance backed guarantees were more widely available , would more retailers avail of them ?

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