Consumer rights, rip-offs and mis-selling: Tell me about the problems you’ve faced…

Many constituents approach me because they are having problems relating to consumer rights – whether it’s unexpected rises in bills, being tied into contracts with excessive penalty clauses for cancellation, being mis-sold goods or services, or other practices that mean they, as consumers, are left short-changed.

SDCROPPED July 2012 041Examples of this kind of problem include landlords charging additional fees to tenants or trying to change lettings contracts; insurance policies and pensions fees that were not clear or appropriate and cause debt or distress; builders/contractors who fail to complete works; problems with the sale of goods online which cannot be returned; supermarket special offers that are more expensive than the original product; higher costs for goods/services in areas of deprivation; utilities contracts that lock users into high-cost services; and sudden increases in direct debit payments on such accounts.

Ahead of the Government’s Consumer Rights Bill, I’m keen to hear more about these issues and others that are affecting you as consumers, so I can develop a wider picture of which markets are working for consumers, and which are not.

I’d therefore like to hear your stories, so let me know if you have been a victim of any of the following:

  • Mis-selling (not getting what was advertised or contracts that could never be fulfilled)
  • Rip-offs (paying too much for goods/services)
  • Sharp practice on special offers (offers that cost more or aren’t as good as they look)
  • Lack of Information about product/service/price/conditions
  • No choice of services
  • Unclear how to complain/get redress

Tell me if you complained to the retailer directly, a trade body, a regulator/ombudsman, or if you took legal action. Also tell me if the matter was resolved; eg if you were offered a full/partial refund; credit or vouchers; a replacement item; perhaps remedial work was done; if you received any form of compensation; and whether court proceedings were instigated or completed.

By sharing your experience with me, I’ll be better able to understand exactly what problems consumers are reporting with goods and services, what might be causing these, what redress people are seeking, and what could have prevented the problem in the first place.

If you would like to share your experience, please email me by clicking this link.



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