Consumer policy research
We are now all consumers acting in a number of different markets, but too often the way these markets are set up does not encourage us make good purchasing decisions. This means we often spend more than we should on products and services, accept shoddy goods and don’t even get redress when we do complain.
While the costs of these problems amount to tens of billions of pounds every single year, they are not given close to the same prominence in debate as taxes, benefits or wages. Our research highlights the importance of consumer policy and looks at the root causes of why consumers so often struggle to get a good deal.
A big problem is that too many consumer policies are predicated on unrealistic assumptions about how people really behave. This could be the idea that more information will lead to better decisions, or the idea that people have the time to make complex calculations about which products are best for them. We see firms exploit this in order to encourage people to make poor decisions. Rather than just expecting consumers to change, we need to use insights from behavioural economics to design markets that work for real people.
Find out more about what our Consumer and Public Services policy team is working on.
This work plan describes the activities Citizens Advice will carry out to represent consumers in 2019/20.
- The loyalty penalty in essential markets: one year since the super-complaint
- Counting on it - Cross sector minimum standards of support for people with mental health problems
- Citizens Advice Consumer Annual Report 2018-19
- Citizens Advice Consumer Work Plan 2019-20
- Monopoly Money: How consumers overpaid by billions
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- Protecting vulnerable consumers in the financial services sector
- Citizens Advice response to the call for evidence on the Consumer Scotland Bill
- Citizens Advice response to BEIS’ Smart Data Review
- The future of regulation: a response to the National Infrastructure Commission’s call for evidence.
- End-of-contract and annual best tariff notifications, and review of pricing practices in fixed broadband: Citizens Advice’s response to Ofcom’s consultation
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