Posted: 14 June, 2016. Written by Mark
RECC’s 2015 Annual Report, prepared for the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (TSI), is now available. The report sets out in considerable detail RECC’s wide range of activities and achievements throughout the year. A summary of the report is outlined below or you can access the full report here.
RECC membership reduced from 4,100 in 2014 to 3,800 in 2015. Our membership profile continued to change during 2015, with heating and plumbing businesses applying to join and, at the same time, the solar PV sector continuing to consolidate and restructure. The Government’s announcement in August 2015 that it intended to cut Feed-In Tariff rates dramatically caused many solar PV installers to take tough decisions about their future in the second half of the year.
During the year RECC continued to increase, update and improve the range of services it offers to its members. In particular, during 2015, RECC:
• continued to work with our Primary Authority, Slough Borough Council, to ensure that all our guidance, model documents and training is accurate;
• continued to issue a quarterly newsletter with updates on the Code and the wider sector, and attended sector-specific trade shows and exhibitions;
• produced detailed guidance for our members on the Consumer Rights Act 2015 and the Alternative Disputes Resolution Regulations 2015, both of which came into force in October 2015;
• held regular, free webinars for members to showcase our guidance on consumer protection legislationas well as our guidance and model documents;
• concluded an agreement to bring RECC members a discount of 25% for being part of the Which? Trusted Trader endorsement scheme.
RECC continued to register 110 new disputes each month, the majority about solar PV installations. As a percentage of total domestic solar PV installations registered during the year the number of disputes about solar PV in 2015 remained constant at 0.7% (948 disputes out of a total of 142,250 installations, a total of 517 installed capacity).
However, for the other technologies, the percentage of total doemstic installations in 2015 was much higher: 2.7% for air source heat pumps, 3.1% for ground source heat pumps, 3.9% for biomass boilers and 4.8% for solar thermal systems. (Though many of the solar thermal disputes concerned legacy installations. The deadline for registering these for the domestic RHI fell in 2015 and this provoked multiple system eligibility issues.)
The year at a glance
• 800 RECC members were subject to close scrutiny, either by means of a spot-check audit of their application, an in-depth audit site visit, a desk-based audit or a mystery shop: 15 independent auditors carried out 159 full audit visits which ranged across the whole of the UK, from Cornwall to the Orkney Islands and Northern Ireland;
• 1,125 householders submitted Consumer Satisfaction Survey questionnaires directly to RECC, either by hard copy or by completing the new Rate You Installer tool on the RECC website; according to which 80% of consumers said they were satisfied or very satisfied with the way the system was installed, and 81% said they were satisfied or very satisfied with the way it was sold;
• 950 applicants completed self-assessment compliance checks, mostly online, of which RECC spot-checked the compliance status of 179 (19 per cent) and referred 27 of these 179 applicants (15 per cent) for a decision by the independent Applications Panel, of which 16 (9 per cent) had their applications rejected;
• 60 members all over the UK were ‘shopped’ by RECC’s mystery shoppers, out of which 15 members visited a mystery shopper in their home;
• 4 members were invited to an independent Non-Compliance Panel Hearing of which 2 were subject to strict conditions and 2 had their membership terminated.
• 1,1485 disputes were registered with RECC, of which one third fell within RECC’s remit and have either been resolved or are still in the process of being resolved; of those that were resolved during the year, 54% were resolved by RECC’s own complaint handlers, 31% were referred to the independent arbitration service, with the remainder resolved independently between the consumer and member.