TOWN centre businesses are being urged to sign up to a consumer protection scheme worth £50bn annually.

The Consumer Codes Approval Scheme (CCAS) offers sector-specific codes of practice that go above and beyond consumer law to protect customers and businesses from potential court costs.

Darlington Borough Council have encouraged companies to join the scheme for firms selling big-ticket household items such as cars, double-glazing or housing itself.

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Councillor Chris McEwan, Darlington Borough Council cabinet member for economy and regeneration, said: “I would urge Darlington businesses to sign up to this scheme which gives consumers greater peace of mind when choosing where to spend their money.”

The CCAS is vetted by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute to ensure each consumer code of conduct is sponsored by an industry body.

Adrian Simpson, CTSI’s consumer codes and business education expert, said: “It can be difficult for consumers to find a trustworthy trader that they can rely on.

“But CCAS members are committed to delivering high levels of customer satisfaction and engaging in dispute resolution, in the unlikely event something does go wrong.

“The scheme also helps businesses stand out from their competition by allowing them to display the codes approval logo, a clear message to consumers that they are a trader to be trusted.”

CCAS launched in 2013 following a Government review of consumer law and replaced a scheme operated by the defunct Office of Fair Trading.