By Daniel Hunter

UK-wide codes of practice which protect consumers from poor trading practices and encourage businesses to showcase exemplary customer service have been welcomed today (Tuesday) by Consumer Minister Jo Swinson.

Speaking at the annual Trading Standards Institute (TSI) conference, Jo Swinson praised the TSI for working with business and consumers to create a new Consumer Codes Approval Scheme. Under the voluntary and self-funded scheme, trade bodies can apply for their industry specific code to be approved by the Trading Standards Institute which will strengthen industry self-regulation.

“Treating consumers with good customer service and a willingness to go the extra mile are the hallmarks of a good business," Consumer Minister Jo Swinson said.

"The TSI approved logo will become a badge of distinction helping businesses enhance their reputation and attracting consumers to honest businesses who are raising their game and helping rebuild our economy. That is why I am delighted to endorse the new UK-wide consumer codes of conduct.

“The new codes add to the host of reforms we have been introducing over the past year to empower consumers and coordinate enforcement against rogue traders, all without imposing unnecessary burdens on businesses.”

The code applies to businesses ranging from energy to healthcare sectors. Businesses that subscribe to an approved trade body’s code will be required to provide consumer protection, including offering an ombudsman or arbitration to resolve disputes. Those that fail to comply once signed up could face fines or imprisonment.

The Minister encouraged all sectors of industry to join more than 15,000 current subscribers and use the commercial opportunities available from advertising their good customer practice through the TSI Approved Code Logo.

Jo Swinson also praised the work of the National Trading Standards Board (NTSB) which successfully helped uncover fraud worth more than £139m in its first year of operation. The new UK-wide codes and the success of the NTSB adds to the host of consumer reforms introduced by the Government over the past year to support growth by helping markets work better for consumers, improving consumer protection and giving greater clarity about where consumers need to turn for help and advice.

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