The Cherished Numbers Dealers Association (CNDA) was established in 1971 to represent responsible dealers in cherished numbers and to protect the interests of their customers. The CNDA has been a member of the Retail Motor Industry Federation (RMI) since 1993. The RMI is one of the UK’s biggest trade bodies; it has around 10,000 members spanning petrol retailers, small garages, medium-sized businesses and large groups. It provides a unique interface between the industry, Government and Parliament, facilitating the development of policy relevant to the national economy.
This Code of Practice is based upon the code that was originally drawn up in 1986 by the CNDA. It has been revised and modernised by the CNDA 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.
The principles set out are not intended to interpret, qualify or supplant the law of the land.
A condition of membership of the CNDA 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 to the conciliation and advisory service operated by the RMI.
1.1 Members will deal with consumers, and other CNDA/RMI members, 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 Members of the CNDA 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.
Member’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 Members 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 Members 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 Members 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 Member 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 Members must take all reasonable steps to ensure that advertised registration marks are available for sale. Nevertheless it is recommended that Members include in all advertising and promotional material a statement that “all registrations are subject to current availability.”
2.7 Members 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 Member 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 Members 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 Members must provide the consumer with a clear indication of the name of the parent website operated by the Member and/or the trading name used by the CNDA Member in accordance with the provisions of the Business Names Act 1985.
3. STANDARDS OF TRADING
3.1 Members shall not trade or act in such a way that will bring the trade, the Association or the RMI into disrepute. Members should ensure that customers are aware of the legal requirements for displaying registration marks.
3.2 Members 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.
3.3 In recognition of the legal difficulties where Members trade in registrations held on Certificates of Entitlement (V750) or Retention Documents (V778) Members are recommended to incorporate appropriate disclaimers of responsibility in any contracts/agreements between Members 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. Recommended formats for such a disclaimer are available from the Association.
3.4 Customers should always be informed if the member has knowledge that a transfer is likely to take longer than normal.
3.5 Members will have in place procedures that constantly monitor the progress of a transfer.
3.6 No part payment from a buyer should be processed before the Member has checked that to the best of his/her knowledge a transfer should be able to proceed without problem.
3.7 Members’ 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 Members 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 Member 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 Member 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 Member.
3.12 Members 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 Members 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.
4.3 In the event that a complaint is not resolved, Members must make it clear to customers that they have a right to refer the complaint to the RMI for conciliation.
4.4 Members will give assistance to and co-operate with the RMI while it is investigating a complaint.
4.5 Where conciliation has failed to resolve a dispute the RMI will offer a low cost independent arbitration procedure which will be through an Independent Panel of Arbitrators. Details of the arbitration arrangements are set out in the Appendix to this Code. Customers must always be advised that they have the option of taking a claim to the Courts.
4.6 The award of the arbitrator is enforceable in law on all parties
5.1 Members are obliged to fully co-operate and comply with the RMI’s National Conciliation Service and Arbitration procedure and disciplinary procedure.
5.2 As subscribers to the Code, Members must ensure by the clear display of appropriate logos, or other means as determined by the Association that customers are informed of Members’ adherence to the Code. Copies of the full Code shall be made available to customers on request.
5.3 Incidences of minor non-compliance will prompt appropriate advice from the Association
5.4 More serious incidences will result in a written warning detailing what corrective action must be taken and by when, following discussion with the CNDA Executive Committee. Alternatively the CNDA Executive Committee may direct that the complaint be put on the Agenda of the next Ordinary Meeting. At this Meeting the Members shall hear details of the complaint and the Member against whom the complaint has been raised shall be asked to make his own representation. Where a complaint is put to an Ordinary Meeting, the Chairman may direct that a ballot is held to decide whether to refer the member against whom the complaint has been raised to the National Disciplinary Committee of the RMI. Such a ballot shall be decided by a simple majority of those members present. In this case the decision of the National Disciplinary Committee shall be binding upon the member and the CNDA.
5.5 A very serious breach, or persistent minor breaches of the Code, will result in a Member being called before the National Disciplinary Committee which may, if it sees fit, expel the Member from the CNDA/RMI. Non co-operation with the RMI’s National Conciliation Service and Arbitration procedure will lead to automatic referral to the National Disciplinary Committee. The Member has the right to be accompanied and/or represented at the hearing. There is no right of appeal. In the event of expulsion, the Member may not re-apply for membership before two years has elapsed and the cause of the expulsion been properly addressed.
5.6 Members 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 after resolution and made available to the Association on request.
5.7 In the event that a Member 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 Member must immediately notify the Association and provide relevant details.
Complaints and Arbitration
- 1. 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 Member concerned.
- 2. 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 Member must acknowledge receipt of the complaint within seven days and send a substantive response within twenty one days of receipt of the complaint.
- 3. If attempts to reach a satisfactory conclusion fail,
consumers have a right to refer their complaint to
the RMI. Any such complaint must be in writing and
The National Conciliation Service
Retail Motor Industry Federation Limited
9 North Street
Rugby CV21 2AB
- 4. All complaints referred to the RMI within a reasonable time of the cause for complaint arising will be considered.
- 5. If the RMI is unable to resolve a complaint, the Member will agree to go to arbitration. Consumers must be informed how the arbitration procedure works, that the result is binding on both parties and that they will need to enter into a binding arbitration arrangement. Consumers must be advised that they do not have to follow this procedure and are free to pursue their rights through the Courts if they prefer
- 6. Parties to arbitration will be asked to pay any applicable registration fee. When the Arbitrator makes his/her award, he/she will determine whether the registration fee should be returned to the successful party
- 7. The parties will also be asked to sign an application for arbitration which will be sent, together with the registration fee, to: The Independent Panel of Arbitrators, c/o Retail Motor Industry Federation Limited, 9 North Street, Rugby CV21 2AB
- 8. In order to keep costs as low as possible, the arbitration will normally rely solely on documents. In these cases, none of the parties to the dispute may be present nor may they be represented by any other person
- 9. The RMI will submit to the Independent Panel of Arbitrators all the documentary evidence in its possession that it considers relevant to the case. The Independent Panel of Arbitrators will advise the parties to the dispute of the written evidence they have available on which it will base its judgment, and invite the parties to submit any further evidence which it considers relevant.
- 10. The Chairman of the Independent Panel of Arbitrators will appoint a single arbitrator (“the Arbitrator”) and will make all the necessary arrangements for the arbitration to be conducted as speedily as possible
- 11. If appropriate under the circumstances, the Arbitrator may conduct an oral arbitration hearing and the parties may then attend to present their evidence. Legal representation may only be employed if the Arbitrator so directs
- 12. The Arbitrator has the power to direct any party to provide him/her and the other party(ies) any additional documents or information he/she considers to be relevant to the matter under dispute.
- 13. The award of the Arbitrator will be published in writing to the parties to the dispute and to the CNDA.
- 14. The award of the Arbitrator is binding on the parties and enforceable in the Courts.