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The OFT closed on 31 March 2014 and this website is no longer being updated. The OFT's work and responsibilities have passed to a number of different bodies. Read more.

The OFTs approved codes scheme is now closed

From April 2013, under changes to the consumer landscape protection regime, introduced by Government, the OFT will no longer be responsible for approving consumer facing codes of practice.  The Government has invited the Trading Standards Institute (TSI) to operate a successor scheme to the Consumer Codes Approval Scheme. You can find further details of the TSI scheme here.

Guidance

Making a purchase? Our advice will help you to make the right choices and protect your rights as a consumer in the industries where an OFT Approved code operates. You can also find businesses operating under OFT Approved codes in your area.

What is an approved code of practice?

Many trade bodies have codes of practice that lay down rules for what their member businesses should and should not do.  Some trade bodies (known as code sponsors) have achieved OFT approval for their codes.  We only approve codes if satisfied that they give you protection and offer you a higher level of customer service.

All approved codes that meet our core criteria include:

  • a commitment to provide customers with adequate information about goods and services
  • the use of clear and fair contracts
  • appropriate arrangements for protecting advance payments
  • low cost, independent dispute resolution if a complaint is not dealt with satisfactorily.

How to get involved

For a business to get involved, its relevant trade body must have a code of practice approved by the Office of Fair Trading. Businesses operating to that code qualify to use and display the OFT Approved code logo.

What are code sponsors?

Code sponsors are the trade bodies that act as representatives for certain types of businesses and are responsible for administering and overseeing the code of practice.

Sponsors

Who's taking part?

Here's an A to Z of code sponsors that have already achieved OFT approval for their code.

Bosch Car Service

See OFT press release
Visit Bosch Car Service website 

British Association of Removers

See OFT press release
Visit Bar website

British Healthcare Trades Association

See OFT press release
Visit BHTA website

The Carpet Foundation

See OFT press release
Visit The Carpet Foundation website 

Debt Managers Standards Association (DEMSA)

See OFT press release
Visit DEMSA website

Direct Selling Association

See OFT press release
Visit DSA website

Institute of Professional Will writers

See OFT press release
Visit IPW website

Motor Codes Limited (New Car Code)

See OFT press release
Visit Motor codes website

Motor Codes Limited (Service and repair)

See  OFT press release
Visit  Motor Codes website

The Property Ombudsman Limited (Sales)

See OFT press release
Visit The Property Ombudsman website

Renewable Energy Association

See  OFT press release
Visit  REA wesbite

Vehicle Builders and Repairers Association Limited

See OFT press release
Visit VBRA website

Working towards OFT code approval

In addition, the following code sponsors have successfully completed stage one and are working towards OFT approval of their codes of practice:

Motor Codes Limited (Vehicle Warranty Products)

See OFT press release
Visit Motor Codes website  

The Property Ombudsman (Lettings)

See OFT press release
Visit The Property Ombudsman website   

SafeBuy

See OFT press release
Visit Safebuy website

Additional codes schemes

In addition to the OFT Approved code, other codes of practice exist. Codes of practice are important because they help to ensure that you, the consumer, get a fair deal from a trustworthy business. Below you will find more information about additional schemes in place throughout the UK.

Trustmark

TrustMark is a scheme supported by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, trade bodies, local trading standards and consumer groups to help people find reliable and reputable trades people to carry out repair, maintenance and improvement work inside and outside their homes.

Local Authority Assured Trader Schemes Network (LAATSN)

All the Local Authority Assured Trader Scheme Network member schemes have to meet minimum standard. The schemes have the common aims of:

  • Giving consumers a reliable way of finding businesses they can trust.
  • Offering a source of help and advice if things go wrong.
  • Enabling local business to demonstrate that they have signed up to national standards of consumer care.

Your local council can tell you if they are a member of this scheme or visit the OFT’s page for a list of network members

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