***AMENDMENT please note change of telephone number for traders to call - details in second last paragraph
Media are invited to a photocall with Cllr Gary Strong, Trading Standards manager Angela Jones and the first local trader in the Buy With Confidence scheme at Carlisle Racecourse on Thursday, 10 February, at 2pm.
Local traders from builders to plumbers and electricians that have been checked for their reliability and high standards could be joining a scheme that starts this month to help point consumers to reputable businesses.
Cumbria Trading Standards are launching the Buy With Confidence scheme across the county. It will bring together a list of local businesses which have been checked for compliance with consumer protection laws and maintain high standards.
Trading Standards officers will carry out detailed checks and audits of the business before they be accepted on the scheme.
Businesses must prove that they run their business in a legal, honest and fair way as well as showing that they will respond to complaints in a positive and helpful manner. If an unlikely dispute does occur and the parties concerned are unable to resolve a dispute, then a mediation service will be offered by trading standards.
With an increase in doorstep crime, it is expected that Buy With Confidence will also protect older and more vulnerable adults at risk of rogue traders who may approach them in their homes selling services such as home improvements and repairs.
Cumbria Trading Standards manager Angela Jones said: "We all want to use reputable businesses or trades people who offer good service and this scheme is a great way for people to get that.
"Customers will have reassurance that a reputable trader can be found from the scheme, and avoid being ripped off by rogue traders who may carry out unfair trading practices. The scheme will benefit both consumers and local businesses throughout Cumbria."
Cumbria County Councillor Gary Strong, Cabinet member for Cumbria Trading Standards, said: "This is an excellent initiative which will help residents to find reliable local tradesmen but also demonstrates how Cumbria County Council is working to support local businesses in these difficult times.
"Consumers will be encouraged to look for the Buy With Confidence logo and I would urge local businesses who can demonstrate good business practices to apply to join the scheme.
"The bottom line is that Buy With Confidence will be the logo to look for if you want to find a reliable local business."
Members of the scheme will be able to display the Buy With Confidence logo on their business premises, vehicles, and business stationery, etc and both businesses and consumers alike will gain the real benefits it produces.
Hampshire County Council first launched the scheme in 1999 and it has been so successful that over 20 local authorities are now on board.
For more information visit the website at www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk.
Businesses who are interested in joining the scheme can contact Trading Standards on 01539 713594 for an application pack.
If you are a consumer and you have had a problem with a trader or need consumer advice please contact Consumer Direct on 08454 04 05 06.
Media enquiries to Media Officer Chris Little on 01228 226335.