Policy & Research

Consumer Rights and Fair Markets

Effective protection and easy access to redress are cornerstones of our rights as consumers. Ensuring a sound legal framework, consistent application and enforcement of rights and effective interventions in markets that fail consumers are central to what we do. We also press businesses to develop meaningful self-regulatory systems.

What Consumer Focus is doing

Things go wrong. Sometimes an entire market has developed practices that not working in the customer’s interests. Consumers with a cause to complain should expect that a company or service will deal quickly and efficiently with a complaint. They should also expect that if they are required to take legal action that the system of justice makes it simple and affordable to gain redress. Consumer Focus is engaged from the top to the bottom of the consumer rights framework, from the implementation of the Consumer Rights Directive, the operation of small claims courts and legal expense insurance down to the brass tacks of how different sectors handle complaints.

Fair market and fair services lessen the need for people to take legal action or to seek redress. Often fair markets result from effective regulation. We speak up for the consumer interest in relation to the regulation of markets and the way in which regulators engage with consumers. However if a market is manifestly unfair and causing consumers real detriment we will intervene directly through a supercomplaint or other measure to make sure that regulators and enforcers take quick and decisive action.

Latest News

  • 10 things you didn’t know you’re entitled to from your energy firm

    10 September 2012

    Consumer Focus and Energy UK are urging consumers to find out what extras they may be entitled to from their energy firm, and look into how they might be able to get a better deal and save money off their bills. The call comes as new research from Consumer Focus shows that when asked about [...]

  • Welcome recommendations to improve the park homes sector

    20 June 2012

    In response to the Communities and Local Government Committee’s call for better regulation of the park home sector, Gemma Bowen, head of Consumer Focus Investigations, said:  ‘There is much to welcome here as this is a sector beset by problems for many park homes residents. We have long called for legislation to remove a site [...]

  • Midata is an opportunity to put more power into consumers’ hands – says consumer watchdog

    3 November 2011

    Responding to the government’s midata announcement, Mike O’Connor, Chief Executive of Consumer Focus, said: ‘Consumer data is an incredibly valuable commodity and the amount of data kept and used is set to grow as people increasingly use online and digital services.  ‘This data should not just benefit the businesses and services who collect it. Midata [...]

  • Greater clarity on consumer rights welcomed by Consumer Focus

    19 September 2011

    Responding to the announcement of a Consumer Bill of Rights, Christine Farnish, Chair of Consumer Focus, said:  ‘A Consumer Bill of Rights would help streamline and modernise the current patchwork of consumer protection law, making things easier for consumers and businesses alike.  ‘Well informed consumers make markets work better. This is good for consumers, good [...]

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Latest Publications

  • Get it, together – The case for collective switching in the age of connected consumers

    Get it togther

    2 May 2012

    The architects of our energy, financial services and telecommunications markets shared the expectation that individual consumers would act as the engines of competition. Consumers would, it was assumed, maintain vigilance on how their current arrangements fare in relation to the other offers available to them in the market and, if an offer that better suits [...]

  • Hard times or our mutual friend? An alternative future for Trading Standards

    Hard times cover

    22 June 2011

    Trading Standards has long been an important part of the consumer landscape, enforcing some of the nation’s oldest – but still highly relevant – pieces of consumer law. Hard times or our mutual friend? explores the future of trading standards in light of spending cuts, the Government’s new empowerment strategy and changing consumer power.

  • In case of emergency

    In case of emergency (cover)

    18 April 2011

    Before the Event Legal Expenses Insurance (BTE LEI) provides consumers with the cost of legal fees should they become involved in litigation. It is a relatively inexpensive mechanism for resolving a range of problems and legal disputes, particularly compared to the prohibitive cost of litigation. According to Office for National Statistics’ estimates, there were 25 [...]

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