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Looking for Consumer Help and Advice?


Welcome to our Consumer Hub. If you’re a UK consumer, looking for advice about a Problem Purchase, want to contact your Local Trading Standards Office, find a Trustworthy Business, or want to learn a bit more about UK Consumer Protection, the information on this page should help. Please read on. Or click on the following titles to jump to the relevant section:

As the national body, representing the UK’s Trading Standards profession, the Chartered Trading Standards Institute operates at the heart of what can seem like a dauntingly complex and confusing array of organisations dedicated to helping consumers. Our aim is to point you in the right direction.  Please let us know if there’s anything you think we should add or expand on: consumerhub@tsi.org.uk


HELP : Purchased from a UK-based Company?

If you have a problem with something bought from a company based in the UK, you should report the matter to one of the following organisations (depending on where you live):

Depending on the individual case, the service may direct you to a local consumer service (such as your local Citizen’s Advice branch) or report this matter to your Local Trading Standards Team to investigate further. Phone lines are open during normal office hours but please check the relevant website for details and call charges.

England and Wales: Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline

Call : 0808 223 1133

Contact them Online

Scotland: Advice Direct Scotland

Call : 0808 164 6000

Email info@advice.scot

Northern Ireland: Consumerline

Call : 0300 123 6262

Send an Online Message

 


HELP : Purchased from a Non-UK based Company?

If you have a problem with something you bought from a company based Outside the UK – for example, an online retailer located in an EU country or elsewhere in the world – please get in touch with the UK International Consumer Centre (UKICC):

UK International Consumer Centre (UKICC)

Call : 01268 886690

Email eccnet-uk@ec.europa.eu

The UKICC can be contacted by phone or email. Phone lines are open Monday to Friday, between 10am and 4pm (except on bank holidays and other public holidays). More information is available on its website www.ukecc.net.


Your Local Trading Standards Office

If you need specific help and advice about a local business you have dealt with, it may be best handled by qualified trading standards officers, operating in your community – who may already know about the business in question but will always be best placed to do something about it. 

PLEASE NOTE: In many areas of the UK, Trading Standards resources are now increasingly limited (as a result of funding cutbacks). So, please respect the time and expertise of the staff you contact – and do what you can to help them help you and help other vulnerable members of your local community. Thank you. 


Find a CCAS Trusted Business

The Consumer Codes Approval Scheme (CCAS) is operated by CTSI to help people identify trustworthy businesses that have put Customers and Customer Service at the heart of their offering. Which means they’ll do their very best to serve you and resolve any issues, if they arise.

Click here to search for a CCAS Approved Business

CCAS Approved businesses offer additional purchase protection and clear procedures to resolve any complaints. In the ongoing fight against ‘rogue traders’ and other bad practice, CCAS Members are on the front line, helping the trading standards profession keep consumers safe. Support them!

REMEMBER: Whenever you purchase anything, always look out for the CCAS logo. This is particularly true if you, or someone you know, is vulnerable – please tell them about CCAS.


Consumer Organisations

There are many organisations dedicated to helping British consumers, promoting good business practices, and enforcing trading standards. If you encounter issues with something you have purchased, in this country or abroad, they should be able to help.


Citizen’s Advice

Citizen’s Advice caters to people in England and Wales. They provide a wealth of useful information and advice on their website, and also run the Citizen’s Advice Consumer Helpline on 0800 223 1133 – where trained advisers can give you advice over the phone, or via their Online Form. It's worth remembering that Citizen's Advice staff are often volunteers - either members of the public with a particular interest in Consumer Protection, or seasoned professionals giving their time for free. Generally, the best results come from being patient and helping them to help you.


Consumer Advice Scotland

Consumer Advice Scotland is funded by the Scottish Government. You can access their range of services by calling 0808 164 6000, or using their live chat service (on their website).


Consumerline (NI)

Consumerline is a one-stop-shop, offering free consumer help and advice to people based in Northern Ireland. Consumerline helps consumers avoid scams, dodgy deals, to make a complaint and stay informed with consumer law in Northern Ireland.


UK International Consumer Centre (UKICC)

The UKICC helps consumers when they have experienced issues purchasing goods and services from abroad (where the company is based outside the UK). Their service is similar to the Citizen's Advice - but for for British consumers who have made a purchase abroad and, having encountered problems, don't know where to turn. 


Which?

Consumer rights is a division of Which? They provide up-to-date information on your consumer rights and offer a wealth of solutions to consumers' problems.


Age UK

Age UK offers specific support to elderly people and their carers/relatives. They provide a free advice line on 0800 678 1602 (lines are open 8am-7pm, 365 days a year). They also have specialist advisers at a number of local Age UK branches - check their website for details.


CTSI’s Role in UK Consumer Protection

Protecting consumers sits at the very heart of CTSI’s work. In addition to being the professional body representing British trading standards professionals, we run a number of national programmes and initiatives aimed at advising, supporting and protecting consumers.

  • Trading Standards Professionals
  • UK International Consumer Centre (UKICC)
  • Consumer Codes Approval Scheme (CCAS)
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

Trading Standards Professionals

Founded in 1881, CTSI is the official membership body for trading standards professionals in the UK.  Trading Standards has a critical role to play in protecting consumers and preventing harms. This might be to ensure consumers pay a fair price and get value for money for the goods and services they buy. It might involve protecting consumers from criminal activities such as scams, rogue traders and doorstep crime. Or it might be to help ensure that the products consumers buy, from food to electrical goods, are safe.


UK International Consumer Centre (UKICC)

The UKICC provides free advice and assistance to UK residents who have problems with anything they have bought from companies based outside the UK. The UKICC works with partner organisations in various other countries, to ensure UK consumers are empowered with the knowledge they need in order to resolve problems with a company. In some instances, these partnerships enable the UKICC to make contact with the company on behalf of the consumer. This can be helpful whenever the parties have been unable to reach an amicable solution

For further detail around our process and the advice we provide, including mediation, or to speak to one of our legally trained advisors, please check our UKICC resources.


Consumer Codes Approval Scheme (CCAS)

CTSI runs the Consumer Codes Approval Scheme. This was set up to guarantee high standards of customer care and added levels of protection from traders who are approved members.  Any business can apply to join the CCAS Scheme. Customers are reassured when buying from CCAS Approved businesses, that they have additional protection for their purchases and have access to clear procedures to resolve any complaints.

https://www.tradingstandards.uk/commercial-services/consumer-codes-approval-scheme/i-am-a-consumer/


Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR): Resolving Disputes through Mediation

Consumers can use something called Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) to resolve disputes they may have with a business or trader. ADR is about trying to avoid legal action and going through the courts by mediating between both parties and trying to resolve things amicably. It is a voluntary process and parties can still choose to take further court action if they do not reach a solution through ADR.  There are various types of ADR processes and depending on size, complexity and value of claim; parties can decide to use whichever of the available methods would most effectively resolve the dispute. 

If you would like to use an ADR body to resolve your complaint you should first ask the trader for details of an approved ADR body and whether they are willing to use them to resolve your complaint. For more advice on accessing ADR, if your complaint is with a trader in the UK contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133

Outside of regulated sectors (finance, telecoms and energy) the ADR Scheme is voluntary, although if the company you are dealing with is a member of one of the following trade associations you may be able to use ADRhttps://www.tradingstandards.uk/consumers/adr-approved-bodies/


Product Recall Information

Product recalls and safety notices are issued when it has been found that a product may have a safety issue or defect which could potentially be dangerous. Businesses who would like to display product recall or safety notices on this page should email it to publications@tsi.org.uk If you wish to publish such information, it is recommended that you contact your local trading standards service for advice before sending the notice to us.

The latest European Safety Gate notifications are available on the Europa website. Vehicle recall notices can be found on the GOV.UK website.


Code sponsors

Details of the Code sponsors can be found here.

View full list

About the Codes scheme

Information on how the Codes scheme works

Find out more

Product recalls and safety notices

Take a look at the most recent products that have been recalled.

Find out more

Support & advice

Do you have a consumer question and you're not sure where to go for help?

Follow us on twitter @ctsi_uk

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