More than 630 window and conservatory installers have applied to become members of The Double Glazing and Conservatory Ombudsman Scheme (DGCOS). Since its launch in January 2010 the number of applicants has risen steadily, but the year to May 2012 has seen a considerable increase in enquiries and acceptances. Tony Pickup, Founder of DGCOS, says the stringent criteria for membership makes DGCOS accreditation a badge worth having.
“We only accept conservatory and double-glazing installers who we believe have their customers best interests at heart,” Tony explains. “The service DGCOS offers homeowners is unique. It is far more than just a badge or an Ombudsman service. It is comprehensive consumer protection. It’s actually protection for both installers and homeowners with free advice, free independent inspections, free mediation and free arbitration by The Ombudsman, all backed up with a Compensation Fund to help protect all parties. Every consumer receives a mandatory deposit protection, work-in-progress protection and an Insurance Backed Guarantee. These services are not offered as an ‘optional extra’ and not withdrawn if the installer doesn’t register the customer or pay the ‘insurance fee’. With all this we need to be confident the companies who join DGCOS meet our standards. And Nick Ross, the consumer champion and ambassador for DGCOS, doesn’t lend his name lightly, so our reputation has to be unassailable.”
Each of the 630 plus applicant companies' background has been checked, all references followed up, (amongst other checks), to ensure they meet DGCOS’s standards of quality, ethics, professionalism, and continuing customer satisfaction. Unlike some open-to-all, 'no-frills' schemes, membership of DGCOS isn’t granted free of charge. While the consumer is fully protected with DGCOS, professional installers also have some protection against customers who refuse to pay. But even more usefully, DGCOS' in-house full time mediators systematically resolve – at no cost to either party – over 85% of disagreements between the homeowner so they don't need to go before the Ombudsman, Ronald Barham (LLM, PhD, FCIArb).
DGCOS helps members secure business too, as more consumers look for the DGCOS logo, knowing that dealing with a DGCOS member offers the best security for what is often a major investment in home improvement.
For more information visit www.dgcos.org.uk