Whitegoods Trade Association
On occasion we get asked about the relationship between the Whitegoods Trade Association (WTA) and ourselves, UK Whitegoods Limited (UKW) and we thought it may be a good thing to explain that relationship in more depth.
The Beginning Of A Trade Association
Way back in 2004/2005 or thereabouts a number of UKW members started to ask if they could contribute to what UKW was doing for the repairers in general.
The main reason for this coming into being was to serve as a sort of fund to fight any potential legal actions by certain companies at the time taken against the repairers. At the time there was a huge fear of this and, several examples where legal or other action was taken against repairers which led to the creation of this fund.
Sadly this also, along with many comments made in the forums by repairers incensed by what was going on, led to the notion that UKW was a bunch of maverick rebels that were totally unprofessional. That simply was not true but, it suited some companies to have that image of UKW portrayed within the industry.
In any event, after an initial resistance it was agreed that UKW would hold a "subscriber's fund" for the repairers that wanted to contribute and that the money would be held in trust for the group by UKW. That was done, a forum created specifically for this small group and life moved on.
During 2006 and into 2007 UKW was, with some active members, looking to solidify the code of practice that UKW operates for the engineer search facility and we explored the various options available to do this. We looked at the Trustmark Scheme which we decided was not suitable and, we also looked at the OFT Scheme. We inquired about the OFT scheme but the OFT couldn't work with us as UKW was a commercial organisation. The idea was dropped.
Formation Of The WTA
Some of the members that were originally a part of the subscriber's fund decided that they wanted to form their own trade association to represent the smaller repairers. They felt that the only viable alternative, DASA, was more geared toward larger appliance repair companies.
Early in 2007 they did just that and the Whitegoods Trade Association was born.
How Is UK Whtiegoods Involved?
UKW provides, totally free of charge, the following services to the WTA:
- General administrative duties
- Accountancy & banking facilities
- Printing and other office supplies
- Use of office space and provision of a meeting venue
- IT support and webhosting
Pretty much that is the extent of the involvement although we do also share costs where it is appropriate, such as with meeting venues and so on and the provision of general support.
The question that gets asked is, why does UKW as a commercial organisation do this?
The answer is, why not?
UKW has the infrastructure and ability to help the trade association which, in turn, helps the repairers which is after all the biggest single reason that UKW came into being in the first place. As a company, we would find ourselves remiss if we did not help the WTA.
Our feeling is that we owe it to the repairers to help as much as we can and in any way that we can. After all, many of these small businesses help us in turn by supporting the site, helping the general public and so on which allows us to offer the free resources that we do to the WTA.
The WTA therefore helps the repairers, the public and the industry in general. Asides from which we feel a social and moral obligation to help other businesses in the industry, particularly those that need the help.
We therefore help because we can.
And we're back to asking, why not?
WTA In Control
Because of the close ties that UKW has and, always has had with the WTA there has been some talk that in some way that UKW exerts some sort of control over the WTA.
This is entirely untrue and a completely unfounded conclusion to reach since no commercial organisation can hold voting rights with the WTA.
The WTA management team have complete and absolute control over the association, UKW has no bearing or influence on the direction that they choose take. This is a quite right and proper situation, the WTA should be in charge of its own destiny.
There is however the caveat that, as many members of the WTA are also members of the UKW forums and the WTA will often champion causes raised in the forums it can be mistakenly viewed by people not directly involved, that somehow UKW is influencing the WTA but that is not the case, it is simply the members views that are being represented. Bacause these views and topics that are being discussed by the trade at large on the UKW forums does not in any way mean that the WTA is influenced by UKW, merely that it is reacting to the repairers and trying its level best to represent those views.
Proud To Do It
UKW, as a company, is very proud of its involvement with the WTA.
It was born from conversations held on this website. It was helped along by us, supported by us and we are not in the least bit sorry or ashamed. The WTA has grown to become a fully fledged and very active trade association that steers it's own path and represents its members the best it possibly can with the resources it has.
The people that run the association do a sterling job and the members are of a very high standard.
As a business, we are extremely proud to say that we help such an organisation and will continue to do so for as long as we possibly can, with any resource that we can offer and, in any way that we can.