Published On: Wed, Feb 3rd, 2016

Giles Wilson defends GGF following derogatory, untrue and inaccurate comments

Giles Willson  MD GGFFollowing derogatory, untrue and inaccurate comments made online against the Glass and Glazing Federation (GGF) and its Members, Giles Willson, GGF Managing Director, has defended the Federation, its Members and underlined the GGF’s work and position as the industry’s leading trade body.

The most recent comment appeared on Double Glazing Blogger’s blog by Anthony Jones, Chairman of National Federation of Glaziers who incorrectly stated that some GGF Members had brought “consumer biased laws” upon the industry. In addition, Jones also accused the GGF of being “afraid to do anything about dishonest practices”, questioned the democracy of the GGF and attacked the GGF’s Consumer Code of Practice.

It is unusual for the GGF to engage publicly on a social media forum of this nature but given the seriousness of the allegations, the following response was made.

GGF response from Giles Willson, GGF Managing Director

“Rather than engage in a public cyber squabble, we respond to Anthony Jones’ earlier post, with a few questions for Anthony with regard to his inaccurate (and bordering on defamatory) comments as well as providing some facts to help him understand the Glass and Glazing Federation (GGF), our work and the scope of our long standing success, as we try to continue to improve the operating environment for our Members and the wider industry.

Consumer-biased laws?
For several years, the GGF Home Improvement department and specialist groups have been working hard on behalf of the industry on consumer legislation with Government departments and the Chartered Trading Standards Institute. 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?

Selling techniques v dishonest practice
Each company, whether a GGF Member company or not, decides on its own business model as to pricing and discounts. It is not a dishonest practice provided the trader is clear to the consumer as to what the list price is and what discounts apply. We appreciate that many in the industry have an opinion on traders which have a list price with substantial discounts available, however this practice is also common in many sectors such as automobiles, kitchens, furniture etc., and is not illegal or unethical.

GGF Members and voting
No single GGF Member or group of GGF Members “calls the shots” at the GGF. At GGF meetings when a vote is taken, the democratic policy in effect is “one Member, one vote”, so each Member company has just one vote on an issue whether it’s a large, medium or small company. However, we estimate that GGF Members do represent over 50% 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”. However to add even greater strength to our voice to Government, the GGF last year set up a new independent group in conjunction with several other trade bodies and manufacturers called The Glazing Supply Chain Group which is a forum that meets quarterly to share views and opinions across all areas of the industry and not just from GGF Members.

The GGF Consumer Code of Practice
The GGF Consumer Code of Practice formerly The Code of Ethical Practice (the name changed over ten years ago) was revised and re-launched last year to GGF Members, and is freely available for download on the GGF website and on the GGF’s consumer site The Code has been updated, taking into account changes in consumer legislation. The GGF is currently in the process of gaining approval from the Chartered Trading Standards Institute for the new Code. It is compulsory that all GGF Members who sell directly to consumers have to sign up to the Code and if they breach it, they risk losing their membership in accordance with GGF Rules.

It would be interesting for all readers if Anthony could explain which part of The GGF Consumer Code of Practice he considers a “sham.”

You can download the GGF Consumer Code of Practice here:

How the GGF deals with dishonest practice
It is clear in our new Consumer Code that Members must not state inflated prices for goods and services above those of the company’s price list, then offer discounts or “special one- day offer prices” that are not true; only genuine discounts agreed by the company must be applied.

GGF Members are operating completely honestly and ethically by complying with the GGF Code. As stated before, it is the commercial decision of traders as to the pricing and business model they operate; however they must comply with the GGF Code if they are a GGF Member. 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.

The status of the GGF in the industry
With our Membership comprising most of the major players and leading experts in the industry covering 35 different sectors, the GGF has naturally become the main trade organisation in the industry.

Given its position, the GGF offers its Members over 70 Membership benefits and great networking opportunities at over 200 specialist, regional and national group meetings across the UK.

Though networking is undoubtedly a very popular benefit, the GGF’s many other benefits include: solid political campaigning, unrivalled technical and health and safety information, a comprehensive library of publications and standards, consumer leaflets and support, website directories, business support and multiple online benefits such as Member company profiles on GGF websites and, plus the GGF digital news service and digital magazine. With so much digital development, the GGF has grown its online audience by over 400% (132,000 unique visitors in 2015) in 4 years. In the last couple of years the Federation has also enjoyed record attendances at meetings and many high profile companies in the industry have joined.

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. Indeed, our technical content in the public domain is even referenced and used by the National Federation of Glaziers, which the GGF provides royalty free.

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 always encourage any company not in Membership to consider joining and to contact us for more information about the Federation and its activities. If requested we would also happily invite interested companies to attend one of our meetings.

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.”

Giles Willson
Managing Director
Glass and Glazing Federation