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Consultation could change the way Trading Standards handle complaints

Government looks to improve rights for wronged consumers

The Government has initiated a consultation that aims to give trading standards authorities new powers on behalf of consumers.

According to a brief from the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, the aims of the review is to ensure that businesses abide by consumer law and improve good practice, boost consumer confidence and reimburse customers for money lost.

The proposals include giving courts the power to make businesses designate someone to monitor how well they comply with consumer law, the introduction of a clear and simple complaints handling scheme so customers know exactly who to contact in case of problems and a way for consumers to find out which businesses are trustworthy and which aren’t.

“Too often consumers are short changed as the result of criminal prosecutions under consumer law: currently a business is condemned and fined, but nothing is done to repay the money lost by the customer. Instead, customers are forced to foot the bill for costly and time consuming legal action to get their money back,” said the Minister for Consumer Affairs, Jo Swinson.??

“When consumers, especially vulnerable consumers, have been wronged they should be able to have free access to justice quickly and simply. With these proposals, when a business has infringed your rights as a consumer the court will make sure they reverse the damage and give consumers their money back. This will put the balance back in the system, and give consumers more power to exercise their choices confidently.”

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