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Code of PracticeCode of Practice

INTRODUCTION

The Code of Practice was established to represent responsible dealers in cherished numbers and to protect the interests of their customers. The term ‘Cherished Number Dealer’ (CND) will refer to any entity who buys and sells registrations whether an individual, company or Trade Association.

This Code of Practice is based upon the code that was originally drawn up in 1986. It has been revised and modernised to meet enhanced consumer expectations. Consumers have a right to expect that they are dealing with professional companies that will use their best endeavours to successfully conclude a transfer.

A condition for CND’s is the acceptance of this Code in its entirety. Consumers who feel dissatisfied with the treatment they have received from members will be able to submit their grievance.

1. GENERAL

1.1 CND’s will deal with consumers, fairly, courteously and in accordance with good business practice. This shall include, but not be limited to, the avoidance of high pressure selling, sensitive treatment of vulnerable consumers, and full written information to be provided to consumers on request.

1.2 CND’s must be aware of, and comply with, the terms of this Code and all applicable laws and regulations that relate to consumers. Members must ensure that their staff shall comply with the spirit as well as the letter of this Code and such laws and regulations relating to consumers including, but not limited to, those relating to Sale of Goods, Supply of Services, Unfair Contract Terms, Trade Descriptions, and Data Protection.

2. ADVERTISING

CND’s advertising shall not be misleading, inaccurate, or in any way misrepresent the mark being sold and shall comply with all current transfer legislation.

2.2 All advertising by CND’s must comply with the British Codes of Advertising and Sales Promotion, or any other code of advertising or regulations that may be relevant.

2.3 CND’s should be aware that the word “advertising” in this Code of Practice applies equally to any form of media including the use of Direct Mail, the Internet, and any other electronic means of publicity such as teletext

2.4 CND’s must, where practical, advertise the Association logo in their advertising and may include the logos of other professional bodies of which they are members.

2.5 CND advertisements that detail prices should clearly indicate any additional fees that are payable. ‘From’ price claims should not exaggerate the availability of advertised registrations that may be purchased at that price.

2.6 CND’s must take all reasonable steps to ensure that advertised registration marks are available for sale. Nevertheless, it is recommended that CND’s include in all advertising and promotional material a statement that “all registrations are subject to current availability.”

2.7 CND’s should not imply in their advertising any special relationship with the DVLA which might give them access to, or the means to promote, the availability of previously unissued numbers.

2.8 A CND offering to “buy back” a registration from a customer, should clearly specify any time constraint, the sum involved and any other relevant condition.

2.9 CND’s should ensure that any registration marks displayed in advertisements comply with existing legal requirements in respect of spacing.

2.10 Affiliate and secondary websites operated by CND’s must provide the consumer with a clear indication of the name of the parent website operated by the CND in accordance with the provisions of the Business Names Act 1985.

3. STANDARDS OF TRADING

General

3.1 CND’s shall not trade or act in such a way that will bring the trade or the Association into disrepute. CND’s should ensure that customers are aware of the legal requirements for displaying registration marks.

3.2 CND’s shall ensure that they have written terms and conditions of business that are both fair and written in plain English. A copy of such terms and conditions shall be made available to the customer upon request.

Best Practice

3.3 In recognition of the legal difficulties where CND's trade in registrations held on Certificates of Entitlement (V750) or Retention Documents (V778) CND’s are recommended to incorporate appropriate disclaimers of responsibility in any contracts/agreements between CND’s and their customers/suppliers in the event that there is, for whatever reason, a failure by the grantee/purchaser to extend the rights to the number prior to expiry.

3.4 Customers should always be informed if the CND has knowledge that a transfer is likely to take longer than normal.

3.5 CND’s will have in place procedures that constantly monitor the progress of a transfer.

Client Protection

3.6 No part payment from a buyer should be processed before the CND has checked that to the best of his/her knowledge a transfer should be able to proceed without problem.

3.7 CND’s terms and conditions of business shall include a term providing for a full refund of the customer’s money where a transfer cannot be concluded within 12 weeks of the customer’s vehicle documentation being received, unless the failure to conclude the transfer is due to an act or default of the customer.

3.8 CND’s must ensure when appropriate that customers are aware that their right of cancellation under Regulation 10 of the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000 is waived once they agree to purchase the right to use a registration mark.

3.9 In any circumstances where a CND becomes aware that a registration is no longer available for transfer he/she must immediately inform the customer and provide a full refund of all monies paid. In cases where the donor vehicle has been stolen, the refund must be made if the vehicle has not been recovered within 14 days of the theft.

3.10 It is recommended that all part payments and all balance payments be held in a separate ‘client account’ until a transaction is fully complete and all disbursements have been made.

3.11 The CND shall accept responsibility to pay the client the full agreed amounts due for the registration mark upon successful completion of transfer by the DVLA whether or not payment from the customer has been received by the CND.

3.12 CND’s providing a quotation service in respect of any mark must request permission to subsequently advertise or promote such a number from the existing keeper.

4. HANDLING COMPLAINTS

4.1 CND’s must ensure that effective and immediate action is taken with a view to achieving a just and prompt settlement of a complaint. To this end there will be, from the point of view of customers, an easily identifiable and accessible procedure for the reception and handling of complaints. This must include details of how to complain, who to complain to, reasonable timescales for dealing with the complaint and details of the conciliation and independent arbitration procedures. This procedure must be understood by all relevant staff. A written complaint must be acknowledged within seven days and a substantive response sent within twenty-one days of receipt.

4.2 When complaints are raised through a third party such as Trading Standards or a Citizens Advice Bureau, full co-operation must be given to that body. Nevertheless, if appropriate under the circumstances, reasonable efforts should be made to re-establish direct communication with complaining customers and to reach a satisfactory settlement.

5.DISCIPLINARY PROCEDURE

5.1 CND’s must maintain a record of customer complaints relating to any of the provisions of the Code and must take action based on this information to improve their service to customers. Complaint records must be kept on file for a minimum period of 12 months.

5.2 In the event that a CND is prosecuted or becomes aware of the likelihood that it will be prosecuted as a result of a matter connected with its business activities, the CND must immediately notify the Association and provide relevant details.

Complaints

Consumers who have a complaint about the quality of service received from a Cherished Number Dealer should in the first place and at the earliest opportunity refer it to the CND concerned.

The complaint, preferably in writing, should he addressed to a senior executive, a director, a partner, the proprietor or an executive especially nominated to deal with complaints. The CND must acknowledge receipt of the complaint within seven days and send a substantive response within twenty-one days of receipt of the complaint.

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