Chartered Trading Standards Institute
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Big increase in in-depth cases for UK International Consumer Centre

The UK International Consumer Centre (UKICC) saw a busy first six months of 2021, with demand for its services being boosted by UK consumers experiencing Brexit-related problems such as customs and unexpected delivery charges with non-UK traders, as well as COVID-19 issues.

A total of 4,351 UK consumers came to the centre for help and advice between January and June 2021.

This includes a 34.2% increase in the centre’s more complex consumer cases over the first six months of 2020, which is likely to be in response to changes in UK consumer spending habits, such as a boom in online sales, brought about by the COVID-19 restrictions. 

Andy Allen, Service Director at the UK International Consumer Centre, said: “Our latest data report, for the second quarter of 2021, shows there is a sustained need for the UKICC service from UK consumers.

“Overall demand for our services shows that the in-year trend for 2021 is broadly typical and reflects the seasonality of complaints received by UKICC.

“Our more time-consuming cases, where the consumer received advice from us and thoroughly attempted to resolve the case themselves without success, leading to UKICC contacting the trader on their behalf, were  up significantly in the first six months of 2021 compared to the same period in 2020.”

Analysis of all of the centre’s consumer cases for the first six months of 2021 show volumes broadly the same as in previous years - this despite there being little international travel, which is a common source of cases.

Andy said: “There is very little difference in the total number of cases for the first six months of 2021 compared to those of 2020. This shows that despite the fact that UK consumers have been travelling very little since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is still a very real demand for our service.”

But although the centre has had a busy start to 2021, its future in 2022 is not yet guaranteed.

Andy added: “Whilst we have been assured of funding throughout 2021, no UK Government decision has yet been made as to whether there will be any funding from 2022 onwards.

 “The centre plays a crucial role in the UK consumer protection landscape and we are pleased that the UK Government found a solution which has retained this valuable service for the whole of 2021.

“Our figures for the first six months of 2021 show undisputed proof of the need for our service. It’s imperative for UK consumers that the UK International Consumer Centre continues to exist in 2022 and beyond.

“The aim of the UKICC is to help as many UK consumers to achieve as positive result as possible, whether it’s a refund, replacement, repair, or contract cancellation. We play a vital role in empowering consumers, by helping them to gain a better awareness of their rights.

“Without this service, tens of thousands of UK consumers every year will be left without support. This continued threat to our existence in 2022 could have very real consequences for UK consumers.”

Consumers can make contact with the UK International Consumer Centre via the website – www.ukecc.net – or by phone on 01268 886690 Monday-Friday between 10am and 4pm.

Notes to Editors                                                                                                                                   

For further information, please contact UK International Consumer Centre’s press office on 01268 582206.

The UK International Consumer Centre (UKICC) works with the European Consumer Centre Network (ECC-Net). There are 29 centres in the EU, plus Iceland and Norway.

The aim of the UKICC is to provide free advice and support to consumers who have a dispute with a trader based in a European country outside the UK as well as an increasing number of non-European countries. Our advisors will assist consumers in the attempt to resolve the complaint.

The UKICC can provide advice in the following main areas: buying goods and services, online shopping, internet auctions, holidays, timeshare and holiday clubs, air travel. Contact the UK ICC’s press office on 01268 582206 for media enquiries.

UKICC is co-funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the European Commission. The UKICC service is delivered by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute http://www.tradingdelstandards.uk/           

Consumers can make contact with the UK International Consumer Centre via the website – www.ukecc.net – or by phone on 01268 886690 Monday-Friday between 10 am and 4 pm.

Channel website: https://www.tradingstandards.uk/

Original article link: https://www.tradingstandards.uk/news-policy/news-room/2021/big-increase-in-in-depth-cases-for-uk-international-consumer-centre

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