The Probate Bureau Ltd has become one of the first firms to sign up to a new scheme with hard-hitting measures to clamp down on poor practices in the Will writing sector.
The scheme which is officially launched today comes hot on the heels of the recent Ministry of Justice’s decision not to formally regulate the provision of Will writing services, preferring instead self-regulatory schemes which could provide adequate protection and redress for people making their Will. It has been given the Government’s official backing by Consumer Minister Jo Swinson, who said it will boost consumer confidence and encourage economic growth.
The scheme covers a wide range of sectors, not just Will Writing, and is designed to give consumers greater confidence in the firms that they use who display the new TSI Approved Codes logo. Consumers will be able to look for the TSI Approved Code logo, or search a dedicated database at www.tradingstandards.gov.uk, for a firm in their area which complies with an approved code.
TSI Chief Executive Leon Livermore said “The Government recognises the importance of the new scheme, because any Will writing firm who says that they comply with the code of practice, but doesn’t, or falsely claims that they do comply will be committing a criminal offence for which they could face fines or imprisonment.”
Baroness Crawley of Edgbaston, who is the chair of the independent board that will evaluate the codes of practice which will be part of the scheme said: “Industry is well placed to understand the demands and expectations of their customers, but those consumers need the added confidence that industry codes have been verified as fit for purpose by an independent body.”
The Institute of Professional Willwriters Code of Practice contains hard-hitting measures to clamp down on poor practices in the Will writing sector which have typically been a problem for customers, such as; low levels of skills of advisers; poor quality of work; loss of money paid in advance; high pressure sales including failure to honour ‘cooling off’ cancellation rights and opaque options to complain and obtain redress when things do go wrong.
The Probate Bureau director David West said ‘For many years firms, as a condition of our membership of the IPW we have been operating to high standards and we’re delighted to be early adopters of the new standard. It’s great news that consumers in the Hertfordshire and Essex area will now easily be able to spot a trusted Will writing service simply by looking out for new TSI Approved Codes logo, or by visiting the Trading Standards Institute website’.
Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice said, “We deal with over a million consumer problems each year and know how difficult it is for people to find a seller they can trust, the Approved Codes Scheme will help to combat this”