Consumer Focus is name for new customer champion
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Released 07 Aug 2008
The new body being set up by the Government to fight for the rights of
consumers will be called Consumer Focus.
Consumer Focus will start work on 1 October. It will be formed through the
merger of the National Consumer Council, energywatch and Postwatch, creating a
more powerful consumer champion, with stronger statutory powers and a wider
Consumer Affairs Minister Gareth Thomas said:
"One body, rather than three, means a stronger voice fighting for consumers.
It means a joined up and co-ordinated approach to tackling problems, rather than
the old fragmented system."
"These difficult economic times make Consumer Focus even more important. I'm
sure it will campaign hard for better deals for consumers and do all it can to
help people through this period of uncertainty."
Ed Mayo, Chief Executive of Consumer Focus, said:
"At a time of rising food, fuel and mortgage costs, there could not be a
better time to see a new consumer champion come forward and campaign for people.
"From this autumn, we will build on the good work of our predecessors -
energywatch, Postwatch, the National Consumer Council, Scottish Consumer Council
and Welsh Consumer Council - to win a better deal for consumers.
"The new name has been chosen by consumers and staff to reflect our goal of
making a practical difference to people."
1. Consumer Focus is being created as part of the Consumers, Estate Agents
and Redress Act that received Royal Assent in July 2007. As an organisation
working in a devolved setting, Consumer Focus's policy and work areas will vary
across different parts of the country, but these will all work to common
* In Scotland - through a merger of energywatch, the Scottish Consumer
Council and Postwatch - Consumer Focus Scotland will start work on 1 October.
* In Wales - through a merger of energywatch, the Welsh Consumer Council and
Postwatch - Consumer Focus Wales will start work on 1 October.
* In Northern Ireland, because postal services are a reserved policy matter, the
new organisation will be called Consumer Focus Post, and will start work on 1
2. Other complementary changes are also coming into force in October 2008 as
part of the Act:
* Energy and post companies will have to comply with strong new complaint
handling standards drawn up by the regulators Ofgem and Postcomm
* New redress schemes or ombudsman will resolve energy and post complaints where
suppliers and service providers have been unable to do so, and provide
compensation for consumers where it is appropriate
* The role of Consumer Direct will be extended - it will become the single point
of contact for all consumers to obtain information and impartial advice,
including on energy and postal issues.
3. The Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform helps UK
business succeed in an increasingly competitive world. It promotes business
growth and a strong enterprise economy, leads the better regulation agenda and
champions free and fair markets. It is the shareholder in a number of
Government-owned assets and it works to secure, clean and competitively priced
Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform
7th Floor, 1 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0ET
Public enquiries +44 (0)20 7215 5000
Textphone +44 (0)20 7215 6740 (for those with hearing impairment)
About the Author
© Crown Copyright. Material taken from the BERR- Department
for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform replacing DTI - Department for
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2008-08-07 17:14:42 in Business Articles