WHAT WE DO

Consumer
Protection

The protection offered by HICS, which includes comprehensive insurance backed guarantees and first class mediation services, ensures consumers are protected before, during and after their installation.

This level of protection helps provide consumers with the trust, confidence and peace of mind that their installation will be fit for purpose and carried out professionally; and they can be safe in the knowledge that should they encounter any problems, HICS’ expert mediation team will be on hand to resolve any disputes.

Deposit & Stage Payment Protection

You may be asked to pay a deposit or make a stage payment when you place an order for your home improvement installation. This is normal practice for most companies as it helps to safeguard them against manufacturing products they will probably not be able to use elsewhere should a customer cancel their order.

All customers using a Gold or Platinum HICS member will automatically receive deposit protection insurance (up to 25% of the contract value), ensuring their deposits are protected should the company cease to trade. The policy will last for 120 days from the date the deposit paid, however, for larger projects this may be extended upon request (up to a maximum of 60 days).

What happens once you have paid a deposit?

Once you have signed a contract with a Gold or Platinum HICS member and paid your deposit, the member must register your details online with HICS within 48 hours. Within 5 working days, we will then send your:

  • Customer Registration Certificate – confirming your details are registered with HICS and the comprehensive protection provided to you.
  • Deposit and Stage Payment Protection Certificate – this protects any deposits or stage payments you may make to the supplier up to 25% of your contract value (maximum £50,000).

Please keep the above documentation in a safe place along with any contractual documentation.

Insurance Backed Guarantees (IBGs)

An IBG is an insurance policy that covers the original guarantee provided by an installer.

Every customer using a Platinum HICS member will automatically receive an IBG.

Upon completion of a contract an installer will provide you with a guarantee, which can be up to 10 years. During that time much can happen to a business, regardless of whether they are a local or national company. An IBG provides you with additional peace of mind that in the unlikely event the company ceases to trade, for whatever reason, you can still make a claim under the terms of the original guarantee. 

When will you receive an IBG?

Once your contract has been completed, the Platinum HICS member will inform us of the completion date and within 5 working days we will send your Insurance Backed Guarantee Certificate.  This will protect you for the term of your guarantee (up to a maximum of 10 years) and allows you to make a claim on the original guarantee if the member ceases to trade.

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

HICS is a Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) approved ADR Competent Authority and provides unbiased dispute resolution services completely free of charge to homeowners.

HICS is approved by Government under the Alternative Dispute Resolution for Consumer  Disputes (Competent Authorities and Information) Regulations 2015

HIES is approved by Government under the Alternative Dispute Resolution for Consumer  Disputes (Competent Authorities and Information) Regulations 2015

By being a member of HICS, our installers demonstrate to their customers that they take complaints seriously. The HICS brand is a mark of trust, confidence and peace of mind.

HICS’ processes are designed to be high quality and effective. We provide a speedy resolution of disputes in order to protect consumers. Most cases are resolved in 7 days, but some more complex cases may take a little longer.

If a consumer chooses not to accept HICS’ decision, their legal rights remain unaffected and they can take the matter to court (subject to the requirements set by the courts). However, this is a rare occurrence as the HICS 3-stage dispute resolution process usually resolves all but the most difficult cases, very quickly. Our dispute resolution process is as follows:

Access to customer services

HICS’ customer services department will work with consumers and installers to come to a mutually acceptable agreement. The customer services department provide an unbiased view of the situation and liaises with consumers and installers with the aim of resolving complaints quickly, effectively and informally.

Access to mediation

If the complaint is not resolved through customer services, the case will be passed onto the mediation department. HICS will provide professional mediators to the consumer and installer. The mediator will request information from both parties, access that information and try to bring the complaint to a speedy, fair and reasonable solution. The mediator has the authority, if deemed necessary, to instruct a specialist assessor/inspector to provide an independent forensic analysis report to help decide, if proof is needed, of any specific technical problems and what might be done to help resolve any issues.

Access to an independent Ombudsman

If mediation is unsuccessful the consumer will have access to an independent Ombudsman service which can resolve disputes without the need to go to court. The Ombudsman service provides an independent, impartial and completely free service to consumers to help resolve disputes between HICS members and consumers who are interacting with them and will make a decision believed to be just and fair in the circumstances. The Ombudsman service can make financial awards for loss, distress, inconvenience or breach of contract. The Ombudsman’s findings are binding on the installer. However, nothing in the HICS service restricts a consumers’ rights. If a consumer remains unsatisfied despite the mediation and the Ombudsman’s rulings, then he or she can still seek legal advice with a view of taking the matter to court.

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Products Covered

Consumer Protection