A war of words has broken out between the Chartered Institute of Plumbing & Heating Engineering and CORGI, which has been called 'immoral' by CIPHE which says installers are being persuaded to pay for CORGI branding to avoid losing business.
The HSE allowed Capita to take over from CORGI as operators of the UK gas registration scheme, now known as Gas Safe Register from April 1, 2009. To legally work with gas, installers must register with Capita's Gas Safe scheme and pay its fees.
Refering to a membership scheme by CORGI, CIPHE said: 'The CORGI name and brand is not disappearing. Instead there will be a new CORGI membership scheme, with a new badge (which looks uncannily like the old badge) and although it will not be a gas registration scheme, it will attempt to promote high standards across the gas industry'.
CIPHE believes CORGI's actions are causing confusion for the industry and is questioning the relevance and need for another scheme that 'promotes high standards with no teeth to enforce', which installers must pay for.
Blane Judd, CEO of CIPHE said, 'The CORGI brand has always been associated with the gas registration scheme, changing the logo slightly will do nothing to change the image of the brand in the eyes of the public, they will assume nothing has changed. This is going to make it very difficult for Gas Safe to establish its new brand and could be seen as a spoiling tactic.
'There is no need for another membership organisation for the plumbing and heating industry, especially one, which only relies on a brand reputation that was already confused in the minds of the consumer'.
CORGI's marketing material states that by joining its new CORGI Membership 'you won’t lose any of the benefits of your association with one of the best-known and most trusted brands in the UK. New CORGI Membership has been developed for those trades people who not only offer regulated competency, but are also committed to providing the highest quality of service to customers'.
Judd said: 'An important factor to consider in these tight financial times. It is immoral for an organisation to persuade installers to part with money by bringing to their attention the risk that they may lose business because they don't still carry the old brand'.
Responding to Judd's remarks, a CORGI spokesman said: 'It is sad that the CIPHE has chosen to release such a disingenuous and self-serving statement, framing as principled and high-minded concern what will be seen by many as an advert for their own organisation. CORGI has been very clear in all communications about the nature and scope of our new quality-based membership scheme, to ensure all customers are made aware of the changes to the mandatory GB gas registration scheme. We are going above and beyond to make it very clear that CORGI now has a different place in the market'.
'CORGI has provided a range of products and services for many years which have been purchased and used by tens of thousands of registered installers.
The level of interest we have had from the thousands of installers who are keen to continue their association with CORGI post-April 1st shows support for this'.
He added: 'The majority of criticism has come from other organisations that operate in the same commercial areas as CORGI and not from the many thousands of installers who have expressed such interest in continuing their relationship with us. We have no argument with CIPHE members but wonder if a statement of this kind accurately reflects their views.'