While it's possible for customers to source traders through the Which? Trusted Traders site, we understand that some of you will choose to sign up to other organisations or services that offer business leads, in addition to your endorsement.
It’s fine to work with other businesses and seek leads from them, provided that these organisations operate in an open, customer-focused manner. However, any connection with systems or businesses that operate in a less-than-transparent fashion, or those that employ business practices that aren’t in customers’ best interests, could damage both your and our reputation by association.
In the most extreme cases, linking up with companies that aren’t customer-focused could result in the loss of your Which? Trusted Trader endorsement.
Unacceptable business practices
When we refer to unacceptable business practices used by lead-generation services, we are talking about:
- giving the impression of being a local business by owning multiple website names and phone numbers, while being based in a different area entirely
- not being open about acting as a middleman between a trader and a customer
- asking for people’s credit card details in advance of booking a trader to do a job
- making dishonest claims about when traders are available and what time they will turn up
- lying to customers about the real reason traders don’t arrive at an expected time
- not carrying out suitable checks on traders sent out to do jobs
- knowingly sending out traders without the correct skills, qualifications or equipment
- overcharging customers
This isn’t an exhaustive list. There will be other ways that disreputable companies treat customers unfairly. But these practices would go against the following statements in our What is Expected of You document:
- The trader must not use any aggressive, deceptive or coercive tactics to obtain work or money. This also includes exploitation, causing unjustifiable fear, or the application of any undue influence.
- The trader must use accurate descriptions of goods or services, allowing the customer to make an informed decision.
As you know, in our Code of Conduct we refer to reputational risk. Specifically, the fact that any action taken by a trader that poses a reputational risk to Which? Trusted Traders could result in termination of their endorsement.
We feel that any association with any business that uses practices that aren’t in consumers' best interests, could pose a reputational risk to Which? Trusted Traders. Any action which actively misleads consumers could be a breach of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.
As Which? Trusted Traders, we expect you to put customers' interests first, in any event. Aligning with or accepting work from companies that do not operate in a transparent way is not compatible with being a Which? Trusted Trader. If you have worked with companies like this in the past, we would ask you to review your affiliation with them.
If you would like further guidance on this, please contact your Which? Trusted Traders account manager on 0117 456 6032 or email them on firstname.lastname@example.org.