Organisations we work with
Consumer Focus was created through the merger of three consumer organisations – energywatch, Postwatch and the National Consumer Council (including the Welsh and Scottish Consumer Councils). The new approach allows for more joined-up consumer advocacy, with a single organisation speaking with a powerful voice and able to more readily bring cross-sector expertise to issues of consumer concern.
More information is available at www.consumerfocus.org.uk
Citizens advice bureau
Help on a variety of problems including shopping complaints. To find your local CAB look at www.citizensadvice.org.uk
Advertising Standards Authority
The ASA investigates complaints about advertisements, sales promotions and direct marketing. The ASA can stop misleading, harmful or offensive ads, ensure sales promotions are run fairly, help reduce unwanted commercial mail and resolve problems with mail order purchases.
To find out more about the ASA or to make a complaint visit www.asa.org.uk.
Provide free advice by solicitors and specialist caseworkers in areas such as employment, immigration, welfare benefits, housing and discrimination. To find your local office, look at www.lawcentres.org.uk
The British and Irish Ombudsman Association (www.bioa.org.uk) publishes a directory of ombudsman schemes and complaint-handling bodies in the UK and Ireland. This gives brief details about each scheme and how to contact it by telephone, fax, letter or email.
Chartered institute of arbitrators
Details of their consumer scheme is at www.arbitrators.org
Scottish Council for Arbitration
Details of their schemes can be found at www.scottish-arbitrators.org
Backed by the whole industry, government and the consumer lobby, Motor Codes was established to act as the self-regulatory body for the automotive sector and has been responsible for successfully operating two codes of practice, the New Car code and Service and Repair code which are now joined by a third scheme which covers warranty products. You can visit www.motorindustrycodes.co.uk for advice and information on a whole range of motoring issues or you can also call for advice on 0800 692 0825.
Vehicle Builders and Repairers Association
Administers a code of practice for its car body repairers which has been approved by the OFT, and has complaint handling procedures including access to an independent redress mechanism. For more information visit their website www.vbra.co.uk
Robert Bosch Ltd
Administers a code of practice for its car service and repair garages which has been approved by the OFT, and has complaint handling procedures including access to an independent redress mechanism. For more information, visit their website www.boschcarservice.co.uk
British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association
Deals with complaints about car rental and lease in the United Kingdom. For more information please visit www.bvrla.co.uk
Credit and debt
Federation of Information and Advice Centres
Contact independent advice agencies through the FIAC at www.adviceuk.org.uk
Telephone helpline for people with debt problems. More information at www.nationaldebtline.co.uk
For free impartial advice on debt management, bankruptcy or insolvency please visit the following web site www.insolvencyhelpline.co.uk
Consumer Credit Counselling Service
Provides free confidential service to help achieve realistic solutions to debt problems, avoid bankruptcy and learn to handle money. More information at www.cccs.co.uk
Financial Services Compensation Scheme
Acts as a final safety net for consumers who have claims against authorised financial firms who are unable to pay them because, for example, they have gone out of business. It covers deposits, insurance and investments.
More information at www.fscs.org.uk
Financial Ombudsman Scheme
Provides consumers with free independent advice for resolving disputes with financial firms. More information at www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk
Crimestoppers operates across the UK to help identify, prevent, solve and reduce crime. This invaluable community service enables anyone with details of criminal activity to pass them on anonymously, without fear of exposure or retribution.
All it takes to pass on information is one call to 0800 555 111. Every call is treated with absolute anonymity so that nobody will know the identity of the caller, except you, the caller. Rewards are also available and are paid without compromising a caller’s anonymity. For more information please visit Crimestoppers www.crimestoppers-uk.org/
Crimestoppers is not an emergency service and if you see a crime taking place you should ring 999 to report it immediately. If you are a victim of crime you should report this to your local police - the phone number will be in the Phone Book, or go to your local station.
Direct Selling Association
Administers a code of practice for its direct selling members, such as Avon, Betterware etc, which has been approved by the OFT and has complaint handling procedures, including access to an independent redress mechanism. For more information please visit their website http://dsa.org.uk/
Radio Electrical and Television Retailers' Association Ltd
Find out whether a retailer is a member at www.retra.co.uk
Association of Manufacturers of Domestic Electrical Appliances
Find out whether a retailer is a member. Contact details can be found at
Domestic Appliance Service Association
Find whether a retailer is a member at www.dasa.org.uk
Ombudsman for Estate Agents Scheme
Administers a code of practice for its members engaged in residential sales which has been approved by the OFT and has complaint handling procedures, including access to an independent redress mechanism. For more information please visit www.oea.co.uk
Furniture and home finishing
The Furniture Ombudsman
The independent standards body for furniture (including floor coverings, kitchens and bathrooms). The Furniture Ombudsman provides a dispute resolution service and can perform on-site inspections of products. Full details of their service, including a list of current members is available from The Furniture Ombudsman website.
More information at http://www.fira.co.uk/services/furnitureOmbudsman.html
The Independent Kitchen Advice Bureau
The independent kitchen advice bureau offer a survey and report service to help resolve issues between customers and kitchen suppliers by providing independent reports, for more information see www.ikab.co.uk
The Carpet Foundation
The Carpet Foundation administers a code of practice for its carpet retailers which has been approved by the OFT and has complaint handling procedures, including access to an independent redress mechanism. For more information, visit their website.
Air Travel Organiser's Licence
ATOL protects the public from losing money or being stranded abroad because of the failure of air travel firms. More information at www.atol.org.uk
Association of British Travel Agents
Offers advice on travel related subjects and can verify whether a travel agent or tour operator is a member of ABTA. More information at www.abta.com
Air Transport Users Council
Advise air travellers on their rights. More information at www.auc.org.uk
Customs and Excise
Offers advice on customs and excise at www.hmrc.gov.uk
The Timeshare Association [TATOC]
TATOC is a consumer association, representing the interests of over a quarter of a million timeshare owners through its 80+ timeshare resorts. It operates a telephone and internet service if members of the public have queries about timeshare, resale or holiday clubs. Go to www.timeshareassociation.org or call 0845 230 2430 for further information.
Resort Development Organisation (RDO)
RDO is the trade body for the timeshare and fractional ownership industry in Europe. It offers a free of charge service if a complaint is made about one of its members and a low cost alternative dispute resolution scheme in the unlikely event that a complaint remains unresolved. More information is available at www.rdo.org or contact the consumer services department on firstname.lastname@example.org
Competition Pro Bono Scheme
The Competition Pro Bono Scheme offers some free legal advice to individuals and businesses who believe that their rights under competition law have been infringed or who are concerned that they may be infringing.
Legal Services Ombudsman
Investigates the way complaints about a lawyer are dealt with by the lawyer's own professional body. More information at www.olso.org
Scottish Legal Services Ombudsman
Investigates complaints about the way in which a professional body has handled a complaint against a legal practitioner. More information at www.slso.org.uk
Mail Order Traders' Association
Search whether a mail order company is a member. Contact details can be found at www.adassoc.org.uk
Direct Marketing Association
Search whether a mail order company is a member at www.dma.org.uk
National Newspaper Safe Home Ordering Protection Scheme (SHOPS)
Provides compensation to readers of national newspapers when the consumer buys directly from advertisements and catalogues inserted in national newspapers. More information at: www.shops-uk.org.uk
Mailing preference scheme
Removes your postal details from unwanted mailing lists. Contact details can be found at www.dma.org.uk
Telephone Preference Scheme
Enables consumers to opt-out of receiving unsolicited sales and marketing calls. More details at www.tpsonline.org.uk
Fax Preference Service
Enables consumers to opt-out of receiving unsolicited sales and marketing faxes at home. More details at www.fpsonline.org.uk
Office of Communications
Ofcom is the regulator for the UK communications and it has responsibilities across television, radio, telecommunications and wireless communications services. www.ofcom.org.uk
Press Complaints Commission
The PCC is an independent body which deals with complaints from the public about the editorial content of newspapers and magazines. It also works to prevent media harassment and can offer advice to the public pre-publication. For more information visit the website: http://www.pcc.org.uk/
Water Services Regulation Authority [Ofwat]
Ofwat is the economic regulator for the water and sewerage companies in England and Wales. For more information please visit www.ofwat.gov.uk
Consumer Council for Water
A national consumer watchdog agency for the water industry, complaints should go to your local water company in the first instance. If you wish to take it up further, please visit the following site www.ccwater.org.uk
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