GGF defends members and confirms industry position

The Glass and Glazing Federation (GGF) has released a statement in defence against recent allegations made by Anthony Jones, Chairman of National Federation of Glaziers.

Jones claimed GGF members had brought “consumer biased laws” upon the industry and also accused theFederation of being “afraid to do anything about dishonest practices”, questioning its democracy and Consumer Code of Practice.

The GGF had called the allegations “derogatory, untrue and inaccurate comments” and has opted to respond in an otherwise unusual public statement due to the the seriousness of the matter.

Giles Willson, GGF Managing Director, wrote in a statement that the organisation refused to “engage in a public cyber squabble” and provided facts regarding the GGF’s work.

Wilson highlighted that the GGF Home Improvement department and specialist groups had been “working hard on behalf of the industry on consumer legislation with Government departments and the Chartered Trading Standards Institute”. He wrote:

“We are therefore curious to know which “consumer-biased laws” Anthony is referring to and which GGF Member companies he feels have brought these “consumer-biased laws” upon the industry. Please can you provide this information Anthony?”

Wilson then stressed the GGF had no power over traders’ commercial decisions to pricing and discounts and added that it was a common practice in other sectors for firms to have a list price with substantial discounts available.

He highlighted the GGF’s Code of Practice “must not state inflated prices for goods and services, then offer discounts or “special one-day offer prices” that are not true; only genuine discounts agreed by the company must be applied”.

The GGF Managing Director also noted that “no single GGF Member or group of GGF Members “called the shots” at theFederation highlighting each member company regardless of its size had one vote on an issue.

Wilson stated:

“As a trade body the GGF is bound by the Competition Act not to discuss pricing or pricing methods with Members. Members must however comply with the law and the GGF Consumer Code. Any Member in breach of the Code (and the GGF Rules) would face a disciplinary procedure through the GGF Finance and Membership Committee.”

He retaliated  GGF’s status as the main trade organisation in the industry being comprised of “most of the major players and leading experts in the industry covering 35 different sectors” and said it was therefore “no surprise” the government sought its expertise over key issues:

“We estimate that GGF Members do represent over 50 per cent of the glass and glazing industry by turnover, so the GGF being the main trade body is approached by, and considered by Government, on issues of policy affecting our industry.

“Such is the GGF’s strong relationship with Government departments and given the Federation’s size and scope, it is reasonable to consider the GGF as “the voice of the industry”.

“Given the quality, scale and profile of our technical publications, articles and specialist groups, it is no surprise that we are often the first point of contact not just for GGF Members but also for Government, the media, related third parties, the wider industry and consumers to answer questions and provide information on the key issues affecting our industry.”

Wilson concluded:

“We are the first to admit that we are not perfect, but we do try our very best for our Membership and the wider industry to make the operating environment better for all.

We trust this response will be taken in the spirit it is intended, to educate, inform and help Anthony or anyone else who may have any doubts about the position, integrity and work of the Glass and Glazing Federation, the industry’s leading trade body.”

The statement can be read in full on the Federation website.