Will-writers win OFT approval for code of practice

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By Legal Futures

1 June 2010


Will-writers: OFT approval highlights consumer protection

The Institute of Professional Willwriters (IPW) today became only the tenth trade body to receive Office of Fair Trading (OFT) approval for its code of practice.

This means that the OFT is satisfied that the code provides consumers with protection and offers a higher level of customer service, and that the IPW’s 190 members are now included in a search facility for approved will-writing businesses on the OFT’s website.

All codes under the OFT Consumer Code of Approval Scheme meet certain core criteria, which cover the organisation of the code sponsor, the preparation and content of the code, complaints handling, monitoring, compliance and publicity.

Under this, the IPW – a relatively newcomer on the will-writer block – has made a commitment to its members providing customers with adequate information about goods and services; using clear and fair contracts; protecting deposits or prepayments; and offering low-cost, independent dispute resolution if a complaint is not dealt with satisfactorily.

The IPW code also requires members to pass an entrance exam and complete ongoing professional training, provide consumers with a minimum seven-day cooling-off period, and complete work within strict time frames, agreed with the client.

IPW code chairman Paul Sharpe: “It is crucially important that consumers receive the highest standard of service from properly trained and qualified professionals. With IPW’s OFT approved code, consumers can tell at a glance that businesses will provide them with the highest standards.”

Aileen Armstrong, director in the OFT’s consumer group, said: “We congratulate the Institute of Professional Willwriters on this achievement, and will work closely with it to ensure that these high standards are maintained.”

The approval scheme consists of two stages. During stage one, the code must meet the OFT’s published core criteria, while in stage two the code sponsor must prove that its code lives up to the promises made in stage one by demonstrating that the code is being effectively implemented by its members and that consumer disputes are properly resolved.

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