Consumer White Paper: Complaining

White Paper: Dodgy contractors, short drinks and sharp practices in motor trade are focus of consumer crackdown
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A telephone helpline to offer a central point for consumers to find advice. It is designed to improve access to advice agencies by referring callers to points of expertise within the new network.

Callers will be referred on to the relevant ombudsman scheme, trade association or consumer body.

A pilot local helpline is to be set up to test the effectiveness of this approach. It will offer advice on rights when buying goods or services; how to enforce such rights; consumer credit and debt as well as safety aspects.

Will it work? For some time there has been major criticism that consumers are unaware of where to find advice.

Many are confused by a plethora of ombudsmen and trade associations. The hotline may go some way to redressing this problem.

But the Consumers' Association said yesterday that it was deeply concerned that the White Paper's commitment to providing information to the public is not matched by the long-awaited Freedom of Information Bill, which could seriously limit the sort of and quantity of information available to consumers.

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