Find a CTSI 'Approved Code' business
The Approved Code logo helps people identify trustworthy businesses that have Customers and Customer Service at the heart of their offering. This means they’ll do their very best to serve you and resolve any issues, if they arise.
Approved Code businesses offer additional purchase protection and clear procedures to resolve any complaints. In the ongoing fight against ‘rogue traders’ and other bad practice, Approved Code businesses are on the front line, helping the trading standards profession keep consumers safe. Support them!
REMEMBER: Whenever you purchase anything, for added peace-of-mind ALWAYS look out for the Approved Code logo. This is particularly true if you, or someone you know, is vulnerable – please let them know about CTSI's Approved Code.
Why use an 'Approved Code' business?
As consumers, we know how confusing it can be to ensure you purchase goods and services from reputable businesses. Now, you can protect yourself by choosing to buy from businesses that display the CTSI Approved Code logo:
- TRUSTWORTHY: Only Approved businesses (vetted by one of our sector Code Sponsors) can display the CTSI Approved Code logo. This means the business is reliable and trustworthy and puts exemplary customer service at the heart of their offering.
- TRANSPARENCY: Approved businesses (Code Members) have comitted to providing clear terms and conditions. This means that you know what you are buying - without hidden charges or other conditions - BEFORE you buy. In this way, you are always protected.
- COMPLAINT HANDLING: As a consumer, you will also have access to a clear complaint procedure and, if necessary, an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) process that avoids any legal costs. Businesses are regularly audited and monitored (by their sector Code Sponsor) to ensure they comply with the high standards set by their code of practice.
- ENHANCED PROTECTION: Using an Approved Code trader, means you will have protection above and beyond your normal consumer law rights.
What is the 'Approved Code' programme?
CTSI's Approved Code programme - otherwise known as the Consumer Codes Approval Scheme (CCAS) - aims to protect consumers by letting them see, quickly and easily, which businesses have committed to providing the highest levels of customer service.
The scheme brings together a range of Code Sponsor organisations - each with unrivaled expertise within their sector - and all with the primary aim of improving customer service standards. The Code Sponsors are approved by CTSI to promote codes of practice within their sector. A big part of their role involves vetting any business who wants to join the scheme and continuously auditing them - to ensure that they uphold those high standards. This way, only approved businesses can display the Approved Code logo.
Consumers can look out for the CTSI Approved Code logo when searching for a business - and be confident that any approved business they choose has a proven commitment to honest business and higher customer standards.
History and purpose of the 'Approved Code' scheme
The idea of consumer codes was first mentioned in the Fair Trading Act 1973 but the scheme wasn't introduced until 2001, by the Office of Fair Trading. In 2012, the government asked CTSI to develop a successor to the OFT’s scheme as a part of the ‘consumer landscape review’. From April 2013, the management of CCAS transferred to a new Consumer Codes Approval Board supported by CTSI.
CCAS - which administers CTSI's Approved Code programme - is facilitated self-regulation. It aims to promote consumer interests by setting out the principles of effective customer service and protection. It goes above and beyond consumer law obligations and sets a higher standard, giving consumers a clear indication - through the right to display the CTSI Approved Code logo - that code members can be trusted. CCAS aims to reduce consumer detriment and codes will only be approved if they can clearly demonstrate that they are contributing to this objective. Codes approval is a rigorous and intensive process for Code Sponsors.
The scheme is committed to promoting codes of practice that meet our core criteria and have obtained CTSI approval.
- CODE SPONSOR – A code sponsor is the organisation, firm or entity that administers and promotes a voluntary code of practice (as opposed to statutory codes) and can influence and raise standards within its membership. It must be a distinct entity from its membership.
- CODE MEMBER – A code member is any member of a code sponsor. It is a requirement for the CCAS that all eligible members of a code sponsor’s organisation sign up to the code. CCAS is voluntary. A code sponsor must elect to submit its code of practice for approval and membership of the code sponsor must be voluntary.
- CONSUMER CODES APPROVAL BOARD - The board is responsible for determining all matters relating to the approval of codes of practice and discharging its fiduciary responsibilities for the company; it consists of up to seven members.
- CODE SPONSORS PANEL – The panel is made up of a representative from a selection of code sponsors. The role of the panel is to support the aims of the Consumer Codes Approval Scheme itself and help reduce consumer detriment and raise consumer standards within their sectors.
Why trust the Chartered Trading Standards Institute?
CTSI represents trading standards professionals working in the UK and overseas - in local authorities, business and consumer sectors and central government. CTSI exists to:
- Promote and protect the success of a modern vibrant economy, and
- Safeguard the health, safety and wellbeing of citizens by enhancing the professionalism of its members.