Buy with Confidence scheme approves 100th business

Eagle Plastering & Home Improvements has become the latest name on the list of approved Buy with Confidence traders, a system which provides householders with names of reputable local businesses who have been thoroughly checked by Oxfordshire County Council's Trading Standards team.

The firm, from Benson, approached the council for accreditation, and following various checks, received approval and joined the list, which is made up from businesses from a variety of areas, including the building and plumbing trade and the mobility aids sector.

Owner Mark Eagle decided to apply to be an approved trader as he said it fitted in with his business' ethos.

"We have a customer-centric business, working with both individuals and families. People need to trust the tradesmen they allow into their homes. One of our main aims is for clients to feel as comfortable as possible and being on the Buy with Confidence list helps us to do this," the 50-year-old said.

"It's good to be approved by Trading Standards as it shows potential customers that we are a honest business. The more businesses who sign up, the better it is for everybody all-round."

Logo on advertising material

Approved businesses receive a Buy with Confidence logo which can be used on business documentation and advertising material as well as a membership certificate.

The list, which has been in operation for six years, can be viewed online, on a site which attracts 50,000 clicks a month, or in paper form.

Seal of approval

Richard Webb, Manager for Oxfordshire County Council's Trading Standards team, said: "We are delighted to have approved Eagle Plastering and Home Improvements and we welcome the company to our Buy with Confidence list.

"Being part of the scheme gives businesses a seal of approval from us as they can demonstrate that they have spent the time and effort to seek out approval from Trading Standards.

"It also provides householders with peace of mind as they know that the tradespeople they are dealing with are honest and reputable.

"Unfortunately there is a small minority of businesses who seek to dupe and con people, often the elderly and vulnerable, via shoddy work and vastly inflated prices, often through pressurised selling techniques, like cold-calling.

"Part of the reason Buy with Confidence was set up was to provide people with an approved list of traders so residents could feel confident in using those firms on it and also it deals a solid blow to those rogue traders who try and drum up business via deceitful and criminal methods."

Mr Eagle, who employs four permanent staff in his business, which he has run for around a decade, added: "Buy with Confidence does weed out the bad companies who can come up from time to time as everybody on the list has been approved by Trading Standards, giving householders the knowledge that who they are dealing with are trustworthy."

Member businesses also are able to access assistance from Trading Standards to help resolve consumer disputes, should they arise.

Once a business is approved by Trading Standards for Buy with Confidence they are issued with feedback forms and it is a condition as part of membership that businesses make these forms available to their customers.

Trading Standards monitor the performance of all scheme members, including the quantity and quality of received feedback.

How do I become an approved business?

Businesses are encouraged to renew their membership of the scheme annually via a small fee, ensuring officers have current information and are in a position to keep members informed of any changes in law.

Businesses wanting to apply to be approved by Buy with Confidence can find out more information and apply online. The list of approved traders is also available via that link.

Businesses can also call the council's Business Advice team on 0845 051 0845 for more information. The approved trader list is also available in paper form via the above number.