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GGF Consumer Code protects vulnerable consumers

Monday, 7th November 2016

A recent news story has provided an important reminder to glazing installation companies that vulnerable consumers must be treated sensitively and with extra care when assessing their product requirements.

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It was reported in the media that a salesperson representing a double glazing company (who was not a Member of the Glass and Glazing Federation) is alleged to have “preyed on the elderly” by selling a vulnerable pensioner two new doors for nearly £6,000 when all she actually needed was for a handle to be repaired – a job that would have cost approximately £50.

The story came to light after the pensioner’s son confronted the salesperson the next day while filming the encounter, and later posted the footage on social media.’s consumer rights expert, Brian Smith, Director of Home Improvement at the Glass and Glazing Federation (GGF), commented:

“While the company in question is not a GGF Member, the incident is very disappointing for the glazing industry as a whole and you have to question in this case what prompted the salesperson to sell two new doors to the lady. No doubt the company involved will be urgently reviewing their policy and processes on how they deal with vulnerable consumers as a result.”

Vulnerable consumers are those whose circumstances put them at risk of making an incorrect or inappropriate decision, or who are at risk of receiving inferior goods or services.

Brian Smith added: “This incident underlines the importance of the GGF Consumer Code of Practice, which gained approval this year under the Chartered Trading Standards Institute’s Consumer Code Approval Scheme (CCAS). In our Code of Practice, which all consumer-facing GGF Members have to follow, we have an entire section on protecting vulnerable homeowners. A more detailed Guide is also issued to our Members.”

How the GGF protects vulnerable consumers

consumer code title page ggf

All GGF Members that deal directly with consumers are required to comply with the GGF Consumer Code of Practice, including the following with respect to vulnerable consumers:

  • Members are advised to take the necessary time and effort to ensure vulnerable consumers are provided with the best possible service, and extra care and support when required.
  • Vulnerable consumers must fully understand all aspects of signing a contract for goods and services, including the financial implications.
  • Where appropriate, GGF Members must suggest the involvement of a trusted friend or relative to assist the potential customer before a contract is signed and ensure no undue pressure is being exerted.
  • All GGF Members give consumers a minimum of 7 days after the signing of the contract to cancel without penalty.

The GGF considers it reasonable to ask for a maximum of 50% initial deposit for made to measure products such as windows and doors, although many ask for much less.

Read more: GGF Consumer Code of Practice

Brian Smith summarised: “For the best consumer protection in the industry, I would advise all homeowners to use a GGF Member company. Not only is the standard of work at the highest professional level, but our Members are following an approved Consumer Code of Practice and offer the GGF’s free deposit indemnity scheme and free conciliation scheme. Our consumer support aims to give homeowners peace of mind when using GGF Member companies.”

Need a glazing professional? Find a GGF Member company near you

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