Last week, BBC Breakfast brought to the UK the new Double Glazing and Conservatory Ombudsman Scheme. And since that broadcast, the DGCOS, what they stand for and what they say have come under intense scrutiny from the double glazing industry.

The aims of the DGCOS according to their website is to help installers separate themselves from the cowboys of the industry, gives our customer genuine peace of mind, it’s there to protect us against the customer just out to get what they can…and that’s about it really.

Here’s my thoughts, much of which has been said by the industry already. Firstly, it costs a hell of a lot of money. A company with a £1,000,000 turnover will have to pay £32,000 a year. This is an enormous amount of money, and the ‘benefits’ the scheme will provide do not justify a company paying out that much money. Secondly, using the term ‘Ombudsman’ has connotations of government, of which the scheme has no connection as far as I’m aware to the government at all. But it’s the gravitas of the word that the DGCOS is spinning to their benefit. Thirdly, the scheme has used Nick Ross, who everyone knows is the face of consumer protection. As an industry, this type of gloss won’t be taken quite as well as the public might take it. In fact they’ll just see right through it and not even acknowledge it. Next, when you really read what they say on the website, it doesn’t really explain in a detailed fashion how either the consumer or installer is any more protected. It says it law enforcing powers, but gives no examples. Sort of like the recent election campaign, a lot of slick talk and no substance.

The next thing the DGCOS has done wrong is to start threatening legal action all over the place. If the DGCOS wants to pick up installers, they have to take criticism on the chin, then do their bit to prove to the sceptics (of which there are a lot off) that the scheme is worth joining. They even threatened action against the BBC, the organisation they need to get publicity! Madness!

Personally, this is just another scheme, probably the most expensive one to date, created to make money for it’s inventor. I can’t see any real benefit to either the consumer or installer. Also, for those that do join, their certification logo will probably be added to an already large list. How is a customer supposed to know which scheme is the right one when there are all sorts of logos and certifications about now? One of the biggest issues here is the cost. I think if the cost was a minimal one like the others are then they will get more installers on board. But with a cost like the one mentioned above then no is really going to take this seriously. 

There has been this debate going on at the GlassTalk site for the last few days, and it looks like the DGCOS have written a few comments posing as customers (don’t sue me DGCOS, it’s just my opinion!). It’s actions like this which aren’t going to help the scheme gain any more credibility. 

It will be interesting to see how this debate develops over the next few days and weeks!