The Consumer Code for New Homes (CCNH) was established to ensure that best practice is followed in respect of the marketing and selling of New Homes, and also sets expected standards for after sales customer care service.
Complying with the requirements of the Code is mandatory for all Developers registered with Q.
You can find out everything you need to do to comply with the Code in the CCNH Developer Requirements Guide and you will find out more at www.consumercodefornewhomes.com too.
To get started, here we outline 5 easy steps towards complying with the Code which could be quick wins for most Developers.
Put Code Information on your website
As a Code Member, you are required to display your commitment to the Code and ensure your customers have access to the Code before, during and after they have purchased a New Home from you.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to place a page on your website, displaying your commitment to the Code, explaining what the Code covers and providing a link to the Code website for your customers so that they can access further informatin about the Code and the Independent Dispute Resolution Scheme.
You should also include the Consumer Code for New Homes logo, along with the CTSI Approved Code logo.
CCNH provides a useful template of wording which you can use.
Put your Complaints Procedure on your website
As a key requirement of the Code, Developers must have a system and procedures for receiving, handling and resolving Buyers’ service calls and complaints.
You should ensure that Buyers know how to access your Complaints Procedure at every stage of the process: Reservation, Contract of Sale Exchange, Completion of Sale and Handover - and we think that the easiest way to do this is to make your Complaints Process available as a page on your website, and then you can easily refer your customers there.
The Code's Developer Requirements Guide gives you more details about what the Complaints Procedure must include and you may already have a Complaints Procedure.
But if you don't already have one, you can use the template provided by CCNH which will help you to cover the minimum information requirements of the Code.
Display your commitment to the Code in Sales Areas
Displaying your commitment to the Code is a key requirement of compliance so you need to display your registration with the Consumer Code for New Homes in all public areas where you will sell New Homes which means Show Homes, Sales Offices and on any marketing materials / sales promotion material used by Estate Agencies where remote sales are being conducted.
You should have received a Code Member Certificate direct from the Code, which you should make copies of to display in these areas and you will also need to obtain some display materials from us to use in all these public areas. You can use this Code Member Information Display and also the Code Window Sticker and Code Member Window Sticker.
Add a simple footer to your Sales Brochures which says "XXX Developer is a registered member of the Consumer Code for New Homes - find out more at www.consumercodefornewhomes.com" and include the Code and CTSI Approved Code Logos.
If you need help with display information or different formats of the logos, please contact CCNH direct at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Train your staff
You need to make sure you provide appropriate training to any customer facing staff (including Agents who sell on your behalf as well as Site Managers and After-Sales Teams). This training must provide your representatives with enough information about your systems and procedures for:
complying with the Code + the company's commitment to the Code
giving them enough information to explain to Buyers (and potential Buyers) about the Code
the importance of proper sales & advertising
avoiding misleading Buyers
avoiding high-pressure selling techniques
the customer service standards which the company expects to be met
information which will need to be provided to Buyers at each stage of the process,
reservation and contract procedures
after-sales service expectations.
The Code offers online training for all your team members and Agents, so please contact CCNH direct at email@example.com to arrange access to these. There is a series of materials which cover the main requirements of the Code, which have been broken down into short courses, with some questions at the end of each module to test knowledge.
Make sure your Reservation Agreement is compliant
Under the requirements of the Code, you must provide Buyers with a Reservation Agreement which clearly sets out the terms of the Reservation.
The Code has developed a Reservation Agreement template which you can download from the CCNH website and add your own branding or other requirements, which can then be completed and provided to each Buyer to ensure you have covered the minimum information requirements of the Code.
Important note: The template Reservation Agreement is covered by the Primary Authority Partnership with Kent Trading Standards which means that if you use the template correctly, you can be reassured that the Reservation Agreement has been approved by Kent Trading Standards as being compliant with Consumer Protection legislation.
Within the template, there are fields where you can add your own information, and you can add your own corporate logo and style, but the template content should not be altered in any way otherwise it will not be compliant.
The Code does strongly advise that you make use of this template, however it is not mandatory to use it. If you choose to use an alternative format, you must ensure it complies with Consumer Protection legislation and supply a copy to the Code.