Please read these terms and conditions carefully, they form the basis of our contract with you.
The Kent County Council (KCC) Trading Standards Checked scheme is for genuine, reputable businesses who provide services or products to consumers.
The purpose of the “Trading Standards Checked” (TSC) accreditation scheme is to provide consumers, particularly the vulnerable, with a choice of businesses who can be relied upon to act fairly, lawfully and legitimately.
The aim is to prevent consumers becoming victims of crime. This could be by limiting access to the market for ‘rogue traders’, by carrying out checks to prevent criminals joining the scheme and by providing consumers with a list of vetted traders.
The scheme operator is KCC.
A legally binding contract based on these terms and conditions is formed between you and us when we confirm your membership of the TSC scheme to you in writing and you have paid your annual membership fees.
In these terms and conditions:
“you” or “business” means a member of the TSC scheme
“us” or “we” means KCC.
“scheme” or “TSC scheme” means the Trading Standards Checked accreditation scheme
“member” or “membership” means a member of or membership to the scheme.
Annual Membership is available to the following types of businesses:
If the legal status of your business changes we may need to review your membership to the TSC scheme. It is your responsibility to notify us of any changes to your business, contact details and services as soon as reasonably practicable.
Failure to do so may result in your membership being reviewed, suspended or terminated.
KCC reserves the right to refuse membership to any business which it feels does not satisfy the criteria laid down in these terms and conditions. It may, as an alternative to refusal, impose certain conditions that need to be satisfied prior to confirmation of membership.
We are likely to decline applications from businesses where:
If you operate regionally or nationally, with a significant number of branches or provide services over a very large geographic area, we will discuss with you how best to manage your application and support your membership. Each case will be assessed individually.
The application form asks for information about your business, the owners and employees. All applications are made online at www.kent.gov.uk/tschecked.
You must submit your completed application form to KCC along with all supporting documents and the application fee to enable KCC to perform background checks and vet your business. The results of these checks are used to assess the suitability of your business to join the scheme as per the vetting criteria (clause 4 below).
It is your responsibility to ensure that all information provided in the application form is true and accurate. If it is found that information provided is false or fraudulent, your membership to the scheme could be terminated as per clause 14.
KCC carries out background checks on businesses who wish to be part of the TSC scheme. In carrying out these checks, KCC may rely on its own records and on intelligence received from partners and other law enforcement agencies that has been shared for the purpose of preventing and detecting crime.
We will vet the previous trading history of the business as well as the directors, owners or other persons with significant control or influence over the business. If either the business or any of the responsible persons fail our vetting checks, membership may be declined or terminated.
If you do not pass our vetting checks, we may not be able to tell you all the reasons why, due to the databases we use to carry out the checks.
Checks will include:
You will need to provide consent on the application form for KCC to conduct these checks.
Every business is treated individually and reviewed against the same scheme criteria to ensure that our approach to applications to the scheme is consistent, fair and proportionate. KCC conducts a range of due diligence checks and may refuse, suspend or terminate membership where there is reliable information that suggests the business is not suitable for the scheme.
You may be deemed unsuitable if there is intelligence to suggest:
Where there is intelligence suggesting any of the above, KCC will conduct reasonable enquiries to corroborate the information and KCC may exercise absolute discretion in forming any conclusions or findings.
Examples of minor breaches are a failure to:
Examples of major breaches are a failure to:
*Unreasonable is quantified as a percentage of complaints against the company’s trading activity. In order to assess this, you may be asked to provide evidence of your company’s trading activity so that a percentage can be ascertained, failure to do so may result in your membership being suspended or terminated.
On application to the TSC scheme, the business owner(s) must state if they have unspent criminal convictions.
They may be asked to provide further details – this may be via a telephone interview, or in the form of a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check. Upon receipt of this, KCC will make a balanced judgement taking into account:
If during the vetting of your application to the scheme, or at any other time during your membership, it is believed that you or any of your employees may have unspent criminal convictions, you or your employee may be asked to provide a DBS check that is no more than 4 weeks old.
All DBS checks will be at your own cost, and failure to provide one when requested may result in your application being refused or membership being suspended or terminated.
For more information on how you can request a copy of a DBS check please follow the link: https://www.gov.uk/request-copy-criminal-record
If any offences relate to murder/ manslaughter, theft, fraud, supply of controlled drugs, money laundering, violence or sexual offences; the application will automatically be refused or any granted membership may be suspended or terminated.
If you fail to inform us about any criminal convictions you receive whilst being a member of the scheme, your membership will be terminated.
KCC reserves the right to share information gathered on individuals and businesses in the course of administering the scheme, with other Agencies and law enforcers where necessary.
You are liable for the work and actions of your sub-contractors and that they are suitably qualified and experienced to carry out the work required. It is strongly recommended that you use subcontractors who you trust and they must be aware of and follow our Code of Conduct, as per clause 13.
Where subcontractors are used to provide services to a customer, you must make the customer aware that you will be engaging sub-contractors to carry out the work.
Failure of your sub-contractors to follow the scheme’s Code of Conduct could result in suspension or termination of your membership.
Annual prices for Gold Membership or Standard Membership are stated (excluding VAT) on the trader pages of the website, www.kent.gov.uk/tschecked.
The annual membership fee includes an initial application fee of £150 plus VAT (£30), which is non-refundable whether membership is granted or not.
The cost of Membership includes:
Gold Membership includes all of the services listed above, plus:
Earlybird Special Offer - 50% discount on Gold Membership
This is an introductory offer of 50% discount on Gold Membership for one year, this offer will end on 31st March 2020. This special rate is offered to traders at the start of the scheme and no traders have paid the full price to join the scheme before this time.
Membership of the scheme must be renewed on an annual basis. We will contact you one calendar month before your renewal is due to find out if you would like to renew.
If you choose to renew your membership you will need to pay the non-refundable application fee listed above. Vetting checks will be carried out and if passed the remainder of the annual membership fee must be paid.
The scheme offers a range of additional membership benefits.
Any additional membership benefits are discretional and are offered as a courtesy to our members and do not form part of the membership fees.
As such the additional membership benefits may be changed, withdrawn or added to at any time.
Please see www.kent.gov.uk/tschecked for current additional member benefits.
The Trading Standards Checked (TSC) logo is an important part of the scheme, and we need to control how it is used. The intellectual property rights in the TSC logo belong solely to KCC and KCC reserves its rights to the fullest extent permitted by law. Members of the scheme shall have a royalty free, non-exclusive licence to use the TSC logo in accordance with these terms and conditions and any breach of these terms and conditions or the Code of Conduct shall entitle KCC to terminate or suspend the licence to use the TSC logo with immediate effect.
Once your membership is approved you will be sent a logo electronically. Your logo will be specific to your business as it will include a unique Trader ID number. This is to help protect your business against other traders falsely claiming to be Trading Standards Checked.
As a member of the scheme you may use the TSC logo to publicise your membership and promote your Trading Standards Checked business.
It is important that all members follow the Conditions of Use to:
The logo that is sent to you is the only TSC logo you can display. It must never appear without the Trader ID number. The logo can only be used as follows:
You must not:
It is the responsibility of the scheme applicant to control the usage of their unique TSC logo and ID number.
You must comply with the following Design Specifications:
As well as using the logo, you may wish to publicise your membership of the scheme by making a written statement in your adverts etc. Once your business is a member of the scheme, permission is given for the following statements to be used in connection with your membership.
Other statements are not acceptable for use, some examples are listed below but they are not a definitive list:
If you would like to use any other wording, please make sure you contact us first in order to obtain written permission.
Any misuse of the logo or deviation from these guidelines will be an infringement of your terms of membership. Use of the logo by a non-member is a banned practice under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 and is a criminal offence.
Action will be taken if any member or non-member is found to infringe these guidelines or misuse the logo. Regular checks are carried out to ensure compliance with these conditions of use.
If your membership of the TSC scheme ends, for whatever reason, you will no longer have permission to use the logo and you must remove it from display within 28 days of the end of your membership. Continued use of the logo is a criminal offence enforceable by Trading Standards. Checks will be carried out to ensure that the logo has been removed.
As a member of the ‘Trading Standards Checked’ scheme you agree to follow this Code of Conduct:
If you are found to be in breach of this Code of Conduct, your membership will be reviewed and could be suspended or terminated. KCC reserves the right to temporarily remove members from the scheme pending investigations.
Your right to terminate:
You may terminate your membership at any time by logging into your account at www.kent.gov.uk/tschecked and closing your account.
When you do this your business will be removed from the website immediately, you will also need to remove the logo within 28 days of cancellation from all of your business paperwork, literature, marketing materials, website and social media channels.
KCC’s right to terminate:
KCC may terminate the TSC scheme and therefore your membership for any reason at any time by giving you written notice of not less than 3 months.
Your membership will be terminated with immediate effect if KCC finds that you:
KCC reserves the right to review your membership, at any time, if any concerns, complaints, information or intelligence is received about you or your business in relation to your actions, behaviour and trading practice. For details of our vetting criteria, please see clause 4 of these terms and conditions.
Please note: There is no cooling off period, and we do not offer refunds if you cancel your membership or if your membership is terminated.
We will review the operation of the scheme from time to time with the aim of maintaining and improving the benefits offered to both consumers and business. KCC may amend these terms and conditions from time to time and shall notify you within three (3) working days of making any changes to these terms and conditions. A copy of the amended terms and conditions will be made available at www.kent.gov.uk/tschecked
If a customer complains about your business/work to the Citizens Advice Consumer Service, they will advise the consumer to contact you in the first instance and follow your complaints procedure.
Should the customer’s complaint not be resolved, or you reach a deadlock situation then as per the terms of the scheme under clause 9, you agree to participate in an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) process should your customer wish to use ADR.
If you and your customer decide to use an ADR service, the final decision shall be binding on you to the maximum extent permitted by Law, including any decision as to payments to be made to the customer.
KCC reserves the right to review your membership at any time, if an ADR decision is ignored.
The decision to use ADR is for your customers to make, the business cannot initiate ADR.
You acknowledge that a copy of the final decision shall be provided to KCC by the ADR scheme. Under the membership terms you do not have a right to appeal an ADR decision (to the maximum extent legally permitted).
If the ADR identifies a criminal offence being committed, appropriate steps will be taken which may include suspending your membership, terminating your membership, referring the matter to the Police or commencing a Trading Standards investigation.
All investigations undertaken will be done so fairly, as quickly as possible and by appropriate, qualified and experienced members of staff.
We want to hear about your experience of being a member of our scheme; complaints and compliments can help us improve the service we provide to members.
We will investigate any complaints about the scheme we receive according to KCC’s complaint policy and respond as quickly as possible. Complaints and compliments can be made online at www.kent.gov.uk.
These terms and conditions shall be governed by English law. Disputes arising in connection with these terms and conditions shall be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales.