Complaint Handling Awards 2020

QASSS Shortlisted at the UK Complaint Handling Awards

QA Scheme Support Services’ (QASSS’s) industry-leading alternative dispute resolution service (ADR) has been recognised by the 2020 Complaint Handling Awards. QASSS has been nominated as finalists in 2 categories, including ‘Best Complaint Handling’ and ‘Best Complaint Handling Team of the Year – Initiative’.

The Complaint Handling Awards is now in its 4th year and continues to be the only awards programme in the UK to recognise the inspiring organisations who are dedicated to effective complaint handling. The UK Complaint Handling Awards have recently been accredited with the Gold Standard in the Awards Trust Mark Scheme from the Independent Awards Standards Council, meeting all 18 criteria to qualify for the highest trust mark possible.

QASSS finds itself in some illustrious competition for the awards, alongside companies such as the Co-op, Virgin Money and EE.

QASSS dispute resolution process has been approved by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) and specialises in the home improvement sector. In September 2019, the average resolution time was just 2 days which is the fastest in the home improvement industry. So, a customer who uses one of QASSS’s home improvement members will get a final decision on their complaint 40 times quicker than the UK average of 80 days.(1)

Ciarán Harkin, Managing Director at QASSS, commented, “We are genuinely honoured to be nominated in two competitive categories. We saw a particular issue with the length of time that was being taken to resolve disputes across the home improvement industry and set about challenging this to ensure faster resolution for both our members and customers.”

Charlotte Pilkington, Dispute Resolution Manager at QASSS, commented: “I am over the moon and so unbelievably proud. It’s a testament to all the hard work the team, our ADR superheroes, has put in over the past year. We wanted to improve industry standards and demonstrate that it doesn’t need to take 80 days to resolve a complaint effectively and fairly, which we’ve done, and we’ll continue to look at ways of raising standards. Some might say we are creating a revolution, a resolution revolution.”

(1) ADR Report 2018

George Clarke filming

George Clarke Filming Consumer Protection Videos for QASSS Schemes in Stockport

QA Scheme Support Services (QASSS), and their associated home improvement consumer protection schemes (DGCOS, HIES, and HICS), have wrapped their latest set of videos with brand ambassador, George Clarke at My Fitted Bedrooms and Kitchens in Stockport.

The consumer protection schemes cover the entire home improvement sector, including double glazing, kitchens, conservatories, building, and renewables. George Clarke, architect and television presenter, has backed the consumer protection schemes since May 2019. Upon learning more about the protection that the schemes offer, George joined as brand ambassador to help offer trust, confidence and, peace of mind to consumers across the home improvement industry.

The schemes offer an array of free benefits to consumers such as industry-leading alternative dispute resolution, access to an Ombudsman (should they need it), deposit and stage payment protection, insurance backed guarantees and much more.

George Clarke commented, “I truly believe in what the schemes offer within the industry. I know that they are serious about raising standards in home improvement and ensuring that everybody is treated fairly. The schemes offer free protection to consumers meaning they can confidently choose a reputable installer knowing they have the right protection in place. This is also a major asset in the installer’s tool kit. By offering this complete protection, the schemes have seen installers’ cancellation rates fall by half in this year alone, meaning it’s a win-win for everyone.”

Their latest set of videos were shot at one of their member’s showrooms, We Fit Any Furniture, trading as My Fitted Bedrooms and Kitchens, in Stockport. The videos are designed to help customers and create greater awareness about just how important genuine consumer protection is when undertaking a home improvement project and just how important it is to pick an accredited installer for the job.

Ciarán Harkin, Managing Director at QASSS, commented, “The videos are just a small part of the tools and support we give to both our members and consumers. There is often more than meets the eye when hiring someone to undertake work on a home and our schemes are set up to protect both consumers and installers throughout this process, providing that extra peace of mind.”

Barry Rourke, CEO at We Fit Any Furniture, commented, “We were delighted to welcome George and the team from QASSS to our showroom. We have many shared values in how we care for our customers when investing in home improvements. Customer peace of mind is paramount to every member of our team and we believe QASSS are best suited to help us with this goal.”

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QASSS Launches New Website

QA Scheme Support Services (QASSS), who provide bespoke business support for the home improvement industry, has launched its new website to better reflect its services and ethos. Building on its heritage as a leading consumer protection organisation across glazing, building, and renewables, QASSS offers in-depth technical expertise, supporting businesses across the home improvement sector and financial institutions.

The launch of the new website allows for a simpler, faster user experience, enabling businesses to find exactly what they need with the click of a button. QASSS’s new website aims to alleviate the complexity of the home improvement industry for both consumers and installers alike with its information hub, including insights on complaints handling and alternative dispute resolution, remedial works management and partner solutions for those in the industry.

The new website showcases QASSS’s services. Their industry-leading dispute resolution service currently resolves complaints on average in 3.59 days, compared to the industry average of 80 days (according to CTSI ADR Statistics, 2018) and their remedial works management service boasts an average resolution time of 28 days.

Ciarán Harkin, Managing Director at QASSS, commented, “We are pleased to unveil our new website to reflect our range of services, providing unique solutions to those working in the home improvement industry and financial institutions. We will continue to develop the new site, including the introduction of a knowledge and resource centre to share industry reports, tips, and in-depth guides.”

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QASSS Announce New Partnerships

QA Scheme Support Services (QASSS), who provide bespoke business support and consumer protection in the home improvement sector, is delighted to announce two new partnerships that will bring additional assistance to their members and consumers.

QASSS welcomes a new agreement with West Yorkshire Trading Standards to act as their Primary Authority, in addition to appointing the Dispute Resolution Ombudsman. Both partnerships will begin in  November 2019.


The Primary Agreement with West Yorkshire Trading Standards means that all businesses, including installation companies, supported through QASSS and their associated home improvement consumer protection schemes, will benefit from legally backed advice from West Yorkshire Trading Standards. Previously, only members of the HIES Consumer Code (for the renewables sector) were able to benefit from the Primary Authority’s expertise. QASSS has now put a wider agreement in place so that all members across their consumer protection schemes, including DGCOS for the double-glazing industry and HICS for home improvements, can now benefit. This assured advice, which must be respected by other regulators, will be able to assist in advice across many areas, including compliance, model contracts, and documentation, supporting installers and member companies to do what they do best in delivering excellent service to consumers.


QASSS is also pleased to announce the appointment of the Dispute Resolution Ombudsman (DRO) with effect from 1st November 2019, replacing its previous agreement with Ombudsman Services. The DRO provides an independent service for consumers and member installers, dealing with disputes that arise from any home improvements. Using an Ombudsman is the final step of QASSS’s Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) service, should the dispute fail to be resolved within the QASSS ADR process. QASSS offers industry-leading ADR with the majority of disputes (98.4%) being resolved without the need for referral to the Ombudsman and within an average resolution time of just 3.59 days. For those disputes that can’t be resolved and therefore are referred to the Ombudsman, as a member company or consumer covered by their consumer protections schemes (DGCOS, HICS or HIES), QASSS has also ensured that this service remains free of charge for both parties as part of their going commitment to raise industry standards.

Ciarán Harkin, Managing Director at QASSS, commented, “Our most recent partnerships with West Yorkshire Trading Standards and the DRO is a huge step for QASSS. The appointment of these partnerships enables all our customers and members to benefit from both reliable and effective advice and an independent party to overview their mediation case, should they need it. These partnerships will provide further support to our members both financially, reputationally and operationally, relieving some of the stress often involved in these complex business requirements.”

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Propensio Finance joins QASSS as a new Affiliate Partner

QA Scheme Support Services (QASSS) who operate home improvement consumer protection schemes (HIESHICS and DGCOS) are pleased to accept and welcome Propensio Finance, as a new Affiliate Partner.

Propensio Finance specialise in providing fast, flexible, non-prime lending to the home improvement market, widening the customer base for installers to those with less than perfect credit scores, helping convert more sales.

Dave Hindle, Managing Director of Propensio Finance, commented,

We are thrilled to have become accredited as an Affiliate Partner, working with QASSS and their home improvement consumer schemes. We want to work with reputable installers, who already provide finance to consumers, to give them a broader range of finance options including specialist non-prime finance, helping those consumers with a less than perfect credit score spread the cost of their home improvements.”

Important factors in Propensio Finance’s accreditation process were their commitment to understanding installer and customer needs, swift and efficient management of the process and their competitive interest rates.

Ciarán Harkin, Managing Director of QASSS, commented,

“We are delighted to welcome Propensio Finance as our latest Affiliate Partner. It’s great to work with a partner who is committed to inclusive and responsible lending in the non-prime marketplace. This means that installers can offer unsecured loans with competitive interest rates to customers who would normally be turned down.”

From replacement boilers, fitted kitchens and bathrooms to new uPVC windows and conservatories, Propensio Finance can often accept customer applications that your first line lender can’t, giving companies and installers a wider range of funding options, enabling companies the ability to deliver their products to a more extensive customer base.

Propensio Finance want to work with installers and companies who are FCA regulated or can offer finance through an appointed representative. If you want to find out more about Propensio Finance and their lending options, register your interest by following the link here.

Notes:

Who are Propensio Finance?

Propensio Finance is a specialist provider of point of sale, non-prime consumer finance to a portfolio of introducer partners in the home improvements sector. They have over 60 years’ experience collectively in the home improvement sector. Propensio Finance help customers with a less-than-perfect credit history obtain the credit they are seeking to fund their project.

Who is QASSS?

QASSS is a business support service to companies and organisations working in the glazing, building, renewables and home improvement sectors. QASSS specialise in dispute resolution services, remedial works management, access and management of reputable installer network, marketing campaign support and other services that may support the needs of home improvement businesses.

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Greentherm Solutions Affiliate Partner

Greentherm Solutions joins as an Affiliate Partner

HICS Consumer Protection Scheme, a scheme operated by QASSS, have accepted Greentherm Solutions onto their Affiliate Partner Scheme as the UK’s first Icynene spray-foam technology distributor.

Greentherm Solutions specialise in spray applied insulation, using Icynene high-performance spray-foam technology, a system originally developed in Canada.

Paddy Leighton, Director of Greentherm Solutions, commented, “Icynene is a modern alternative to traditional forms of insulation, delivering quality and innovation in home insulation. We were keen to work with HICS, a highly reputable consumer protection scheme who can offer end to end complete consumer protection.”

Paddy continued, “Traditional forms of insulation are relatively inefficient and can lead to cold bridging (a weak spot in the insulation) and localised condensation anicd dampness. Icynene, endorsed by the Energy Saving Trust, is a fully breathable, environmentally friendly open-cell spray foam insulation that delivers up to 50% greater energy savings when compared to other home insulation products and has the highest level of vapour resistivity of any soft foam on the market.”

Ciarán Harkin, Managing Director of QASSS, commented, “We are very excited to have Greentherm Solutions on board as a HICS Affiliate Partner. HICS is all about protecting consumers and giving them trust, confidence and peace of mind. We welcome partnerships with companies such as Greentherm Solutions who can deliver innovative products and highly-trained installers to help positively impact the home insulation market.”

Notes:

Who are Greentherm Solutions Ltd?

Greentherm Solutions Limited are distributors for Icynene. Greentherm Solutions Directors have over 30 years’ experience each in the construction industry. They are the sole distributor of the Icynene range of spray-foam insulation products to the UK market. Greentherm has a network of accredited contractors in the British Isles. Icynene has achieved BBA, ETA and BDA approvals and certifications together with a host of other approvals and recommendations.

Who are HICS?

Home Improvement Consumer Protection Scheme (HICS) is a consumer protection organisation covering a range of installations within the home improvement sector. HICS ensures that consumers are dealt with professionally, courteously and sympathetically. Any products installed by HICS members must be fit for purpose, installed professionally and come with comprehensive guarantees which are covered by specialist insurance providing consumers with a high level of protection. HICS is supported and endorsed by consumer champions Nick Ross and George Clarke.

HICS also believes that consumers should have free access to robust dispute resolution and therefore provides consumers with free mediation and free independent inspections to assist with installation or product malfunctions (at HICS’ discretion).