A voluntary code of conduct designed to promote “fair, honest and ethical best practice” within the daily deals sector has been unveiled.

The code is seen as the first step towards improving the sector’s reputation.

Developed by trade body the Global Daily Deal Association, it aims to standardise practices across the industry and enhance accountability and sustainability.

It is hoped it will help improve the reputation of the daily deal industry with both consumers and merchants.

The code addresses issues of privacy, misleading or deceptive conduct, complaints, refunds and credits – all issues that have shaped negative perceptions of the industry in the past.

Businesses who sign up to the code will be involved in its continued development and will work with the GDDA to shape the practices and future of the industry.

Already signed up in the UK are DiscountVouchers, Time Out Offers, MumsandMe and DealCollector. Across Europe Dailydeal, Sweetdeal and Bownty have signed up.

The code promotes industry by ensuring:

–      consumers have access to detailed product and service information in order to make an informed decision

–      communication from providers to merchants and/or consumers is clear and accurate

–      appropriate policies and procedures are in place and clearly displayed on the website

–      the provider has an effective procedure for handling complaints and an easy to understand refund policy

Association chief executive Stavros Prodromou said: “The GDDA has spent a great deal of time producing a code of conduct that is suitable and relevant to the industry.

“The sector has previously been affected by a lack of merchant and consumer confidence. The code is the first step toward improving the sector’s reputation.

“By signing up to the code of conduct, businesses are making a commitment to the future of this industry; the GDDA and code of conduct are crucial to the sustainability and credibility of the daily deal industry.”

DiscountVouchers.co.uk chief executive Gerard Doyle said: The code of conduct underlines our aim to always engage in responsible and fair communication with our consumers.”