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Desperate times, desperate consumers

21 June 2011
Desperate times cover

CAB evidence on the consumer problems caused or exacerbated by the recession

Summary

Desperate times, desperate consumers [ 0.91 mb]

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The current economic recession has provided rogue traders with opportunities to make money out of desperate consumers who are seeking to manage their more restricted finances. Citizens Advice Bureaux in England, Wales and Scotland have been reporting scams and sharp practices experienced by consumers who are looking for work, training or affordable accommodation, trying to cut their expenditure or increase returns from investments, looking for credit to make up the shortfall and to reduce their debt repayments.

The immediate future looks set to get worse before it gets better. Cuts in public spending and a gloomy economic forecast for the UK could simply encourage more scams and sharp practices.

Whilst existing consumer protection law cover the cases we highlight in this report, inspection and enforcement work by regulators and enforcers will never be sufficiently resourced to tackle all the reported breaches. And those working in the new consumer landscape proposed by Government face tighter financial constraints. In these desperate times, we believe that consumers will need information, advice, education, enforcement, regulation, empowerment and redress to work together to protect them.