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Thursday 11 February 2010

Ensuring Consumers Get a fair Deal

11 February 2010

Cheshire East Council’s Consumer Protection and Investigations Service (Trading Standards) works in partnership with Consumer Direct to deliver consumer advice.
Consumer Direct is the government-funded telephone and online service offering information and advice on consumer issues.
It is funded by the Office of Fair Trading and delivered in partnership with Local Authority Trading Standards Services.
When calling Cheshire East Council’s Trading Standards Service your call will divert to Consumer Direct so that they can give you clear, practical, impartial advice to help you sort out problems and disagreements you may be having with suppliers of goods or services.
This arrangement allows Cheshire East residents, to get advice on how to tackle problems and allows Trading Standards to deal with more complex issues, often from the information which has been received via Consumer Direct.
Cheshire East Council Deputy Leader, Cllr. Brian Silvester said:
“The role of Trading Standards is to empower and inform consumers, encourage honest business and target rogue traders and rogue trading practices.
“In many cases, Consumer Direct will be able to address concerns from Cheshire East residents immediately but, when direct intervention on your behalf or face-to-face advice may be required, your case may be referred to Cheshire East Trading Standards Service or another organisation that can assist. The Council is working hard to ensure that all residents and visitors get a fair deal when they purchase goods and services in Cheshire East.”
Consumer Direct will:
• Provide pre-shopping advice before you buy goods or services.
• Explain your consumer rights.
• Advise you if you have a problem or disagreement with a trader.
• Help you make a complaint about a trader that you believe has done something wrong (although they will not complain on your behalf).
• Provide general advice on how to avoid unscrupulous traders or "cowboys".
• Explain consumer-related issues such as warranties, buying on credit, internet shopping, refunds and replacements etc.
• Provide advice on avoiding trading scams and rip-offs.
• Direct you to a regulator or other organisation if it is better suited to assist you.
• Refer your case to your local authority Trading Standards Services or similar agency if they are better suited to assist you.
The advice and information Consumer Direct give is free and you can call as many times as you need to.
Calls to the Consumer Direct 0845 numbers are charged at no more than four pence per minute from a BT landline and may be free depending on your call plan. Call charges from other landline providers or mobile phones may vary. Please check the rate with your phone service provider.
Members of the public wanting to report any loan shark activities in confidence should ring the Illegal Money Lending team on 0300 555 2222. One possible lifeline for those struggling against debt is the Cheshire Neighbours Credit Union, a non-profit making organisation with ethical values and affordable interest rates capped by Government legislation at 2%. Telephone 01270 586217 or visit for further details.
• Consumer Direct is available on a single national telephone number - 08454 04 05 06 - from 0800 – 1830 Monday to Friday, and 0900 – 1300 Saturday, excluding bank holidays and public holidays.
• Advice is available on the website at all times:
• A Welsh-speaking Consumer Direct service is available on 08454 04 05 05.
• Minicom or Typetalk users can contact Consumer Direct for Consumer Issues using Minicom or typetalk services, if the issue is regarding Energy or post only the typetalk service is available.
• Minicom users can call 08451 28 13 84 to access this service.
• To use TypeTalk, simply dial the prefix 18001 before dialling your chosen Consumer Direct number.
• Postal Complaints can be sent to: Consumer Direct, P.O Box 833, Moulton Park, Northampton, NN3 0AN.

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