The Credit Hire Organisation (“The CHO”) – Code of Conduct
This Code sets out the minimum standards to which all member businesses agree to adhere. In this context, member business includes owners, directors, employees, and any persons of significant influence.
Members shall confirm that they agree to abide by this Code by completing & submitting a membership application form or by renewing membership on an annual basis.
This Code may be amended from time to time by approval of the Board in accordance with the Constitution.
The CHO will monitor compliance with this Code by both new and existing members. Any contraventions of the Code will result in the processes as set out in Section 4 below. Members are required to comply with any Code of Conduct enquiry on a comprehensive and timely basis.
All members agree to abide by the following principles:
Members will always act with integrity in their dealings with all parties including but not limited to customers, referrers, third party insurers, suppliers, and regulatory authorities. This will include openness, transparency, and treating others with respect in all business dealings. Members will not engage in any activity which may bring the reputation of The CHO or the UK credit hire industry into disrepute.
- Treating Customers Fairly
Members will always act with fairness, will not misrepresent the nature of services offered to customers, and will ensure that customers have all information needed to make an informed decision as to whether to use a member’s services.
Members will run their businesses diligently, ensuring good governance, applying sound financial and risk management, and maintaining appropriate training for all directors & employees.
Members will use their best endeavours to prevent and detect fraud. In this regard, members will actively pursue the discovery of any fraudulent activity both internally and on the part of any party with whom it deals. To protect the industry as a whole, and, to the extent permitted by law, members will share information in respect of any party known to be involved in or suspected of fraudulent activity.
Members will treat any confidential information received from any source during the course of its business activities in accordance with all prevailing data protection regulations.
Members will comply with all applicable laws and regulations at all times. Members will also follow any guidance on best practice published by the UK Government or any other relevant authority.
- Spirit as well as Letter
Members will abide by the spirit of this Code as well as the specific details therein.
- Business Process
- Referral sources
All sources of work (“referrers”) will be comprehensively vetted at inception and periodically thereafter to ensure that the quality of referrals received is of a suitably high standard.
- Liability Assessment and Case Acceptance
All cases will only be accepted following a thorough investigation of the accident circumstances including rigorous assessment of liability and confirmation that the damage to the vehicle involved is consistent with the reported circumstances.
- Sale of Hire and Repair Services
The nature of any hire and repair services offered to a potential customer will be fully explained in terms that the customer can reasonably be expected to understand.
Members will ensure that customers referred to them are made fully aware that they are dealing with a credit hire company, and in particular, will ensure that customers are not misled that they are dealing with their own insurance company or that of any third party involved in the incident giving rise to the referral.
Any need for a replacement vehicle and, additionally, the type of vehicle required will be subject to comprehensive and diligent enquiry.
Members will perform appropriate due diligence on prospective customers including ID checks, driving licence validation, and ensuring that the customer has suitable insurance in respect of their own vehicle.
All documentation will be clear and complete, include all terms and conditions, and be provided in a timely fashion in advance of the provision of services.
Such documentation will include but not be limited to –
- details of all charges (including any extras),
- the customer’s liability for the charges for services received,
- the claims process under which recovery of charges incurred will be sought from the third-party’s insurance company, and
- the customer’s obligation to co-operate fully at all stages in this process.
In addition, the customer’s attention will be drawn to their additional liability for –
- any damage to the vehicle during the period of hire,
- any parking or similar costs incurred, and
- any penalties arising from any traffic offences
- Vehicle Delivery
All vehicles supplied to customers, including those provided by any subcontractor, will be maintained in accordance with manufacturer recommended service and maintenance standards. All vehicles will be checked to ensure they are clean, safe, and roadworthy in advance of delivery.
All vehicles will be fully inspected prior to handover to the customer, and any damage, however minor, clearly documented in advance of the customer taking responsibility for the vehicle.
If requested by the customer, the member must help ensure the customer is familiar with the operation of the vehicle, including but not limited to the layout of key controls, the fuel type for the vehicle, and advice on charging for electric & hybrid vehicles.
- Hire Period Monitoring
Members will diligently and regularly monitor the duration of hires and ensure that any delay in the completion of a repair or total loss settlement is promptly identified, fully explained and documented, and notified to all relevant stakeholders on a timely basis.
- Off-Hire and Vehicle Return
Upon completion of the repair of the customer’s own vehicle or settlement of total loss, the hire will be terminated promptly, and the hire vehicle collected without delay.
Invoicing and Cash Collection
All payment packs submitted to third party insurance companies will be complete and comprehensive, and contain all relevant information and documentation including, where applicable –
- Covering letter setting out documents enclosed
- Initial notification
- Mitigation questionnaire
- Hire period monitoring report
- Independent Engineer’s inspection report
- Repair invoice
All payment packs issued by members will be compiled and submitted on a timely basis.
Members will ensure compliance at all times with all applicable laws and regulations, including but not limited to those stipulated by HM Government, HMRC, Companies House, ICO, and the FCA, including timely reporting, submission, and payment of sums due.
Members will ensure all directors and employees are suitably trained for the roles they are required to perform and conduct regular and timely updates to ensure their knowledge remains relevant and up to date.
Members will actively pursue the prevention and detection of fraud on the part of all stakeholders including referrals sources, potential and actual customers, directors and employees, subcontractors, and suppliers.
Members will not engage directly or indirectly in any behaviour that might adversely affect the reputation of The CHO or the wider credit hire sector.
Members must comply fully with any CHO Code of Conduct enquiry including the provision of responses to enquiries received on a comprehensive and timely basis.
Contraventions of the Code
Any allegation of contravention of this code will be subject to the process set out below:
- Initial complaint
Any alleged breach of this Code by a member which comes to the attention of or is otherwise notified to The CHO will be referred to the CEO in the first instance.
- Member notification & preliminary enquiry
The CHO will notify the member of the alleged breach and that preliminary enquiries will be conducted.
The CEO will undertake preliminary enquiries, and if appropriate in consultation with the Chair, determine whether there has been a breach of the Code, and the matter is to be referred to the Professional Standards Committee (“PSC”). The PSC shall comprise three members of the Board of the CHO, appointed by the Board.
- No case to answer
If the CEO determines that the alleged breach does not warrant referral to the PSC, the CEO will write to both the member concerned and any complainant notifying them of this decision.
Brief details will be notified to the Board at its next meeting, and the decision recorded in the minutes.
- Suspension pending full investigation
If the CEO determines that there is a case to answer and the alleged breach does merit full investigation, the CEO will write to the member providing details of the alleged breach. The member will be given twenty working days to respond to the allegations and provide a full written response.
The CEO will also notify the member that their membership has been suspended with immediate effect pending completion of the full investigation into the alleged breach.
Whilst suspended, a member will not be required to pay any subscriptions otherwise falling due, but in the event of any re-instatement will be required to pay any outstanding subscription immediately.
- Investigation, decision, and reporting
The PSC will reach a decision by simple majority vote and based on the evidence it receives. The PSC may consult relevant industry experts, if necessary, in the conduct of its enquiries.
If PSC concludes that the allegation is not proven, the member will be notified, membership re-instated and the matter closed.
If the PSC concludes that the allegation is upheld, a decision whether to continue the suspension pending resolution of the matter giving rise to the breach (e.g., via auditing or training) or to terminate membership, will be notified to the member.
The decision reached by the PSC will be reported to the next Board meeting and the outcome recorded in the minutes. Any decision to terminate will be noted on The CHO website. There will be no refund of any subscriptions paid.
- Appeal process
If a Member wishes to contest any decision by the PSC, an appeal must be made in writing to the CEO within seven days of date of notification of the decision of the PSC, setting out the reasons for the appeal. The appeal will be considered by the Board, and the decision reached will be notified to the member and be final and binding.