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UKICC celebrates 14 years helping UK consumers

Posted 16/12/21

A UK consumer service which was relaunched a few months ago with an international focus is celebrating news from the UK Government that its future has been assured at least until the end of March 2022.

The UK International Consumer Centre (UKICC) has been funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), since the UK’s departure from the EU.

It has now received news from BEIS that the UK Government will fund the service to keep the centre open for at least the first three months of 2022.

To mark the good news, the UKICC’s host body – the Chartered Trading Standards Institute - has released a calendar on its Journal of Trading Standards website, marking the centre’s first 14 years of operation.

Going through the years, the calendarfocuses on a different element of the UKICC’s journey each year – from its start in 2007, through some of its more bizarre cases such as human fingers in dog food or a damaged horse, to a service being under threat and its rebirth with an international focus.

UKICC Service Director, Andy Allen, said: “The UKICC has just entered its 15th year of operation, helping UK consumers resolve disputes with traders based abroad, so the fact that we have received news that the UK Government will continue to fund us at least until the end of March 2022 is fantastic news.

“We wanted to do something to mark the milestone of our first 14 years so, with our eyes on what lies ahead, we have cast our eyes back on what has happened in each of the 14 years since we opened in November 2007 and reflected on the UKICC’s life story.

“The only thing that’s really changed for UK consumers since the UK left the EU is that we can now help them with disputes over purchases made in more and more non-European countries, as we growing our partnerships with consumer organisations all over the world. Our aim, as always, is still to provide free advice and support to consumers in dispute with traders based in countries outside the UK.

“We don’t know what the future holds for us, but are hopeful that the UK Government continues to understand the critical role the UKICC performs in the UK consumer protection landscape. For 14 years, we have helped hundreds of thousands of consumers and hope we can continue assisting them throughout 2022 and beyond.”

The message from the UK International Consumer Centre as it celebrates the news of its assured future until the end of March 2022 is: ‘We’re still here, we’re still helping and we’re still free’.

Lord Lindsay, President of host body the Chartered Trading Standards Institute, said that the UK International Consumer Centre plays a vital role in empowering consumers, helping them to gain a better awareness of their rights and providing them with support in resolving their problem purchases.

He said: “Since it was formed 14 years ago, the centre has handled more than 150,000 cases of problem purchases for UK consumers.

“Even though the UK has left the EU, the UKICC is currently dealing with as many cases as ever from UK consumers in dispute with EU traders. This is despite the fact that historically many cases are linked to travel (and travel is currently limited due to COVID-19).

“With the challenges after Brexit, COVID-19 recovery and new markets being explored, it’s imperative that Her Majesty’s Government takes steps to ensure that UK consumers can be confident and feel protected in taking the opportunities created by trade with the EU and non-EU consumer markets as they open up.

“The UK International Consumer Centre’s growing partnerships – and reciprocal arrangements - with consumer organisations all over the world aim to support the resolution of disputes between UK consumers and traders based abroad. The availability of such support results in more confident and empowered UK consumers, making use of global markets.

“With possible divergence from EU consumer law and new global markets becoming accessible, this is clearly not the time for the loss of such an important service.”

Consumers can make contact with the UK International Consumer Centre via the website – www.ukecc.net – or by phone on 01268 886690 Monday-Friday between 10am and 4pm.

 

 

ENDS

Notes to Editors                                                                                                                                                               

For further information or a media interview, please contact UK International Consumer Centre’s press office on 01268 582206 or the CTSI press office on pressoffice@tsi.org.uk, 01268 582240.

The UK International Consumer Centre (UKICC) works with the European Consumer Centre Network (ECC-Net). There are 29 centres in the EU, including Iceland and Norway.

The aim of the UKICC is to provide free advice and support to consumers who have a dispute with a trader based in a European country outside the UK as well as an increasing number of non-European countries. Our advisors will assist consumers in the attempt to resolve the complaint.

The UKICC can provide advice in the following main areas: buying goods and services, online shopping, internet auctions, holidays, timeshare and holiday clubs, air travel. Contact the UK ICC’s press office on 01268 582206 for media enquiries.

UKICC is co-funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the European Commission. The UKICC service is delivered by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute http://www.tradingdelstandards.uk/

Consumers can make contact with the UK International Consumer Centre via the website – www.ukecc.netor by phone on 01268 886690 Monday-Friday between 10am and 4pm.

 



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