In response to concerns about ‘rogue traders’ which are often highlighted in the media, a partnership of Local Authority Trading Standards Services have taken a ground-breaking step by putting together the Buy With Confidence Scheme. The scheme provides consumers with a list of local businesses which have given their commitment to trading fairly. Every business listed has undergone a series of detailed checks before being approved as a member of the scheme.
The Buy With Confidence scheme was first launched by Hampshire Trading Standards in 1999. At around the same time, Devon Trading Standards initiated a similar scheme called ‘CustomerFirst‘. The two schemes became successful, and were also adopted by neighbouring Trading Standards Services. As the schemes grew larger and began sharing information, it became clear that there were benefits to working together under the same rules and branding.
The two schemes merged formally in 2008 as ‘Buy With Confidence’, by which time over 20 local authorities were participating. Buy With Confidence is the largest scheme of its kind nationally and continues to expand its geographical coverage. A number of Trading Standards Services have joined recently and you can check whether your local area is participating by checking our map.
Buy With Confidence is run through the cooperation of a number of Trading Standards Services. We consider that Trading Standards has the right expertise and motivation to offer a scheme which offers genuine benefits consumers and businesses. Accordingly, the Buy With Confidence scheme is administered by local authority Trading Standards Services directly, and is not outsourced.
In order to become a Buy With Confidence member, a business must first apply or be recommended to join the scheme and must then pass a set of tailored background checks. Membership of the scheme is not given lightly – amongst other checks, each applicant will have their complaints history reviewed and will receive a visit from Trading Standards. Good references are required from previous customers and applicants must agree to abide by the scheme’s code of conduct, which requires them to follow the letter and spirit of the law. Criminal records disclosure may also be required in some circumstances, there is a cost of approximately £25 per check which is not included in the cost of joining BWC.
Only if all the scheme requirements are met, will a business be granted membership, and their conduct will continue to be monitored thereafter. We cannot promise that Buy With Confidence members’ work will be perfect every time, but you can expect any problems to be dealt with fairly by the business, and you can turn to Trading Standards for advice in the event of an unresolved issue.