Consumers in Merton who think they have had a raw deal can now call Consumer Direct London, a new advice and information line, for clear and practical advice on a range of consumer issues.
The free service was launched on 12 June to provide consumers with the knowledge, tools and confidence to resolve consumer problems themselves. It is open Monday to Friday 8am to 6.30pm and Saturday 9am to 1pm, excluding bank holidays and public holidays. The service is also available on-line at http://www.consumerdirect.gov.uk.
Callers will be connected to professionally trained advisors at the contact centre in Ealing who have undergone intensive training to be able to deal with all manner of enquiries. If necessary they will transfer the caller through to Merton’s trading standards to help deal with the query.
Councillor Russell Makin, Merton Council’s cabinet member for regeneration, said: ‘Consumer Direct will enable Merton consumers to get advice at a time that suits them. By making this service consumers’ first port of call, it will enable us to focus upon dealing with fraud, rogue traders and counterfeiting.’
‘Merton Trading Standards is watchful for any trends that may indicate a problem with either a local trader or one that is based outside our borough but operating within it. They will be able to use the information provided via Consumer Direct to help in the identification of these trading practices’.
UK-wide research estimates that the unmet demand for consumer advice could be as high as 1.5 million calls a year, over and above what is currently being received by existing services. In addition to this, the Office of Fair Trading has estimated that UK consumers lose out as much as £8 billion each year due to problems with goods and services.
Call consumer direct on 08454 04 05 06 or visit http://www.consumerdirect.gov.uk
Notes to editor
Working in partnership with local Trading Standards, Citizens Advice, and other Consumer Support Network members, the service is funded by the Department of Trade and Industry.
Consumer Direct is also available via Textphone on 0845 128 1384.