Weatherseal Home Improvements Ltd: misleading practices in the sale of double glazing and energy efficiency products

Office of Fair Trading (OFT) closed consumer enforcement case.

Case reference number: CE9706-12

Complainant: OFT own-initiative investigation

Issue

The OFT opened an investigation into the business practices of Weatherseal Home Improvements Limited (Weatherseal), a national provider of double glazing and other energy efficiency and home improvement products.

The investigation stemmed from a wider OFT consumer protection review of the energy efficiency sector, following which the OFT is working with local Trading Standards Services and other partners to drive better practices by companies.

Relevant legislation

The Enterprise Act 2002; the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008; the Cancellation of Contracts made in a Consumer's Home or Place of Work Etc. Regulations 2008.

Summary of work

The OFT investigated concerns about Weatherseal's business practices, and consulted with the business, using its powers under the Enterprise Act 2002.

The OFT raised concerns with Weatherseal about the conduct of some of its self-employed sales agents when selling to people in their home. For instance, some consumers complained that they felt pressured to make a purchase and that the terms of credit used to purchase products were not always clearly explained. The OFT also had concerns about the training provided to sales agents to ensure that they complied with consumer law and about the handling of customer complaints and enquiries.

Weatherseal cooperated fully with the OFT's investigation. Whilst the company said that it had already made changes to how it conducted its business and that it believed its practices complied with the law, following consultation it has given assurances about its future conduct, in particular that it will:

  • improve the training given to its agents concerning sales techniques and regulatory compliance 
  • ensure that customers are clearly informed of the terms of any credit agreement they enter into
  • provide customers with accurate information about their cancellation rights 
  • make a follow-up call to each customer who has placed an order to confirm that they have been left with copies of documents, understand what they are agreeing to, and that they still wish to proceed
  • ensure that complaints and enquiries are dealt with in a timely, reasonable and professional manner.

The OFT has also received similar assurances from Window Care Limited, a company that provides training, compliance and customer service functions on behalf of Weatherseal.

The OFT was assisted in its investigation by a number of Trading Standards Services including Trading Standards Scotland and Cheshire West and Chester Trading Standards Service.

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