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38/05 1 March 2005
The Direct Selling Association's consumer code of practice was launched to consumers today by the OFT.
Sherrie Hewson, popular TV actress and star of Emmerdale and Loose Women, has lent her support to the code. It gives consumers confidence that they will be treated reliably and fairly when they shop with DSA members. If problems do arise, they will be dealt with swiftly and in line with the DSA code procedures.
The DSA's membership includes many household names and accounts for over 70 per cent of direct sales in the home (see note 2). Consumers can now visit the OFT and DSA websites to find out which companies have signed up to the code. DSA members will now also be able to display the OFT 'Approved code' logo on marketing material.
The DSA is the third industry body to receive OFT approval for its code of practice. The OFT only approves codes that are proven to safeguard and promote consumers' interests beyond the basic requirements of the law.
The main benefits to consumers dealing with DSA members include:
Penny Boys, OFT Executive Director, said:
'Consumers buying from direct sellers in the home need to know they are dealing with reputable traders who are committed to safeguarding consumers' interests. Today's launch is a demonstration of our support for code sponsors who have worked hard to achieve OFT code approval and the high level of consumer protection that it demands.'
Richard Berry, Director of the DSA, said:
'The OFT approval of the DSA consumer code is good news for consumers and responsible businesses. The selling of goods and services in the home is gaining in convenience and popularity. The DSA's aim is to ensure that anyone making a purchase in their home from a direct seller gets a level of service and protection that is second to none. From now on, consumers seeing the DSA and OFT Approved logos on business literature, will have that added trust and confidence in knowing they are dealing with a responsible business that gives greater protection to customers than is required by law.'
1. The DSA submitted its code on 26 September 2001 for assessment under the OFT's code approval scheme. It completed Stage One on 3 December 2002 (see press release 84/02) and completed Stage Two on 16 December 2004 (see press release 209/04).
2. The DSA was formed in 1965 and has 39 full members who use the services of 396,000 individual direct sellers. The DSA claims that over 70 per cent of the £2 billion of goods and services that are purchased annually by UK consumers in their homes are sold by DSA members. It is the third trade association to receive OFT approval for its code. For more information contact the DSA 020 7497 1234 or 020 7836 9222.
3. The OFT Approved DSA Code launched today does not contain any provisions relating to the sale of financial products and services. DSA members will not be able to market such products or services under the OFT Approved logo, except for routine credit arrangements related to the sale of goods. Avon has no immediate plans to sell financial products or services to the public.
4. The Enterprise Act 2002 gives the OFT increased powers to help develop effective self-regulation through approving and promoting consumer codes of practice that meet the OFT's core criteria. The OFT's Consumer Codes Approval Scheme aims to promote and safeguard consumers' interests by helping consumers identify better businesses and to encourage those businesses to raise standards of customer service. See press release 31/01 for further details.
5. The Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders received approval on 27 September 2004 (see press release 153/04) and the Vehicle Builders and Repairers Association Ltd received approval on 13 October 2004 (see press release 169/04). Code sponsors that have completed Stage One and are working towards approval of their code are: the Ombudsman for Estate Agents Company Ltd (OEA) (see press release 69a/02), the Association of British Travel Agents (see press release 15/03) and the Motor Vehicle Repairers Association (see press release 09/05).
6. The OFT published its market study into doorstep selling in May 2004 (see press release 83/04) and launched its awareness campaign, 'Your doorstep – your decision' in July 2004 (see press release 111/04).
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