A third of people feel their consumer rights have been ignored, and over a quarter are more likely to complain about items bought during the recession, according to government research.
The survey of 2,000 people by the Department for Business found that 31 per cent of women said they were more likely to complain about goods during the economic downturn, compared with 25 per cent of men.
58 per cent of consumers claim they have complained to a store or requested a refund or exchange up to three times in the past three years, while a third of consumers have done this over three times.
People taking part in the study were also asked: “Have you ever felt a member of staff working in a shop or for an online store has attempted to dismiss your claims or ignore your consumer rights when you’ve tried to return goods or get a refund?” with around a third agreeing.
Age proved to be a factor in confidence in internet shopping, with those aged 35 and over saying they felt they were more likely to be overcharged or misled shopping on the high street than online. 16- to 34-year-olds said the opposite.
Consumer minister Kevin Brennan said: “Robust protections are in place to support consumers. But we want to see a dramatic improvement in awareness of those protections and rights. Knowledgeable, confident consumers are much more likely to get a fair deal, save money and get the right result when things go wrong. This is especially important during the current economic climate, when every penny is even more precious than usual.”
The release of the survey comes on the same day as the launch of the government’s new ‘Know Your Consumer Rights’ campaign, which focuses on ensuring consumers know that goods must: fit the description given, be suitable for purpose and be of satisfactory quality.