Regardless of if you are a wedding supplier or a couple planning your wedding you have probably seen some of the horror stories on social media caused by unscrupulous suppliers or worse.
For whatever the reason, be it the ease of setting up a faux business on social media, lack of consumer or supplier education or otherwise, the small number of rogue traders out there are causing misery to couples and disruption within the industry. Now in 2019 the UK government is taking the first steps by introducing an opportunity for the wedding industry to self regulate like many other industries already do.
Say Hello to CCWE or the Consumer Code For Wedding and Events, we could go on to tell you all about CCWE but lets have it in their words:
So who are the CCWE?
The Consumer Code for Weddings and Events is delivered by the people at Dispute Resolution Ombudsman Limited, who have been helping consumers and businesses for over 25 years. We are an independent, not-for-profit organisation approved by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute.
Our Code of Practice establishes a new standard for traders in the wedding and events industry. We also offer a free and expert service to settle unresolved complaints about traders offering products and services, if they are members of our scheme.
We are not consumer champions or industry representatives; our goal is to raise standards through our Code of Practice, and to empower both parties to reach a mutually agreeable resolution to disputes. We can provide a fair and reasonable decision to settle disputes if we need to.
What does the code of practice mean to consumers and wedding suppliers?
Adhering to our Code of Practice inspires confidence and demonstrates a commitment to raising industry standards. Each of our members has undertaken to:
- Adopt measures that reflect good practice regarding consumer law and the principles of fair trade
- Promote good customer service
- Refer unresolved disputes to our independent Government-approved Alternative Dispute Resolution service if necessary.
CCWE offer Mediation but what if all parties are unable to agree?
If you can’t reach agreement on all elements of the dispute during mediation, we will issue a Case Summary detailing the outstanding items to both parties in readiness for an adjudication. This means that we will make an independent decision on the case, based on the evidence and information provided.
Once we have received a signed Case Summary from both parties we will proceed to adjudication. This period gives the consumer and trader a final opportunity to submit any evidence to support their position before we adjudicate.
The case will be assigned to a legally qualified adjudicator, who will make a decision that they believe to be fair and reasonable. They may:
- find in favour of the consumer – upholding their complaint and making an award*
- find in favour of the trader – rejecting the consumer’s complaint
- reach a split decision – some elements may be in favour of the consumer, and others in favour of the trader.
* Any award that we may make in your favour is to compensate you for any loss you may have suffered and which we feel is appropriate in your particular case. In coming to this decision, we will look at the trader’s terms and conditions; their obligations under the Code of Practice and the applicable consumer law.
Please Note: The outcome of a claim with CCWE could be different from a court outcome and you can withdraw your claim with at any time.
So this all sounds very official is CCWE Government approved?
Yes – the CCWE scheme is approved by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute, (the relevant Competent Authority) to provide our services under the Alternative Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes (Competent Authorities and Information) Regulations 2015.
CCWE are a not for profit independent ombudsmen, how do you maintain independence?
We are neither a consumer champion nor a trade body. We operate independently to ensure fairness in every case. Our Board of Directors is comprised of a majority of independent non-executive directors whose role is to ensure that our independence is preserved.
To help preserve our independence and provide an invaluable set of checks and balances on our work, our Standards Board acts to regulate how we operate. All Board Members share our vision of inspiring consumer confidence and raising industry standards, and do so on a voluntary basis.
Governed by a set of bye-laws, the Standards Board regularly reviews a cross section of our acases, to ensure they are both fair and reasonable. It also oversees our rules, practices and procedures.
At RandFWeddings we have fully committed to the Consumer Code in addition with our industry standing and experience we are very pleased to be able say Vanessa will be serving on CCWE Standards Board.
Call to Action
As a supplier please ensure you are on board with this as soon as possible, as a planner we envisage a time when we will only book suppliers that have signed up to the Consumer Code. As a Couple planning your Wedding as always if the offer sounds to good to be true then it probably isn’t and for additional reassurance check the credentials of all suppliers you book and dont be afraid to ask them if they abde by the Consumer Code – CCWE