Dodgy retailers and traders should be "named and shamed"
New data show consumers spent £185million on disappointing day-to day items and treats
New data published today by Citizens Advice reveal that consumer complaints in the past year about daily goods like clothes and toiletries, and treats such as holidays totalled £185 million, strengthening calls for a Consumer Bill of Rights to be included in the Government’s Queen’s Speech on Wednesday.
Responding to the new data, Chief Executive of the national charity Citizens Advice, Gillian Guy, called on public enforcers to publish a “’Santa List’ which identifies naughty and nice businesses”, which will help consumers identify businesses which do not abide by regulations and for consumers to be compensated as part of the punishment.
The new figures, which highlight complaints about every-day purchases like books, DVDs, clothes, shoes as well as treats like holidays and hotels, will add pressure to Government to include a Consumer Bill of Rights in its legislative agenda for the coming year, due to be outlined on Wednesday in the Queen’s Speech.
Ministers are expected to confirm that consumer regulations are to be streamlined in order to provide certainty to customers and business, but Citizens Advice today warns that easier ways to get money back and stronger enforcement is required in order to give consumers a fair deal.
Citizens Advice Chief Executive, Gillian Guy, said:
“The staggering value of consumer complaints to Citizens Advice in the past year clearly demonstrates that customers need a helping hand to make sure they are treated fairly.
“At Citizens Advice, we’re pleased that ministers have previously stated their desire to untangle the complexity of current regulations, and Government has the ideal opportunity to lend consumers a much-needed hand by introducing a Consumer Bill of Rights in the Queen’s Speech this week.
“Simplifying existing rules is not enough – consumers are often refused their legal rights when something they buy is faulty or sub-standard. When businesses are taken to task for failing consumers the punishment should include compensating consumers and any retailer or provider who doesn’t abide by the rules should be named and shamed by regulators.
“I’d like to see a ‘Santa List’ which identifies naughty and nice businesses. Publicly listing those businesses who do not comply with regulations will not only warn consumers but reward retailers who do the right thing by their customers.
“Simple, tough, enforceable rights will help consumers and be a boon for the UK economy as money, which might end up mired in complaints, is redirected to those businesses who play by the rules and treat customers fairly”.
Notes to editors:
- The Citizens Advice service comprises a network of local bureaux, all of which are independent charities, the Citizens Advice consumer service and national charity Citizens Advice. Together we help people resolve their money, legal and other problems by providing information and advice and by influencing policymakers. For more see the Citizens Advice website.
- The advice provided by the Citizens Advice service is free, independent, confidential, and impartial, and available to everyone regardless of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, age or nationality.
- To find your local bureau in England and Wales, visit citizensadvice.org.uk. You can also get advice online at adviceguide.org.uk
- You can get consumer advice from the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06 or 03454 04 05 05 for Welsh language speakers
- Citizens Advice Bureaux in England and Wales advised 2.3 million clients on 5.4 million problems from October 2013 to September 2014. For full 2013/2014 service statistics see our quarterly publication Advice trends
- Citizens Advice service staff are supported by more than 21,000 trained volunteers, working at over 3,000 service outlets across England and Wales.