World Consumer Rights Day 15th March 2015

Did you know? No, nor did I ’til recently and if it was news to me then hey there aren’t going to be many more people that know. How much press coverage is it getting? Not much? So far that I’ve seen not any, unless anyone would like to tell me differently?

Update – Which? sent a press release regarding healthy food in line with this year’s theme and the story was covered in the Daily Mail, Mirror and the Times but WCRD gets only a passing mention in the articles.

Background So where did this day come from? On 15 March 1962, President John F Kennedy gave an address to the US congress in which he formally addressed the issue of consumer rights. He was the first world leader to do so, and the consumer movement now marks 15 March every year as a means of raising global awareness about consumer rights. Hard to believe that a politician would be interested and support consumer rights huh? Yep, especially when you consider that this year the theme is healthy, affordable diets.

Healthy affordable diets Well let’s start with 1962 and John F Kennedy promoting consumer rights, internationally. Fast forward to 20teen years and the use of foodbanks (you may recall I challenged Iain Duncan Smith on these and he didn’t even know there was one in his own constituency). The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (2013) GBD 2010 says that poor diets contribute to more than 11 million deaths annually and are now the number one global risk factor for death. Premature illness and disability from diet-related diseases impoverishes families, hurts productivity and bankrupts health systems.

To be fair, The Consumer Council in Northen Ireland is promoting the day  and is undertaking a survey to consumers’ thoughts on the affordability of a healthy, balanced diet. The results from this snapshot survey will inform research we’re undertaking in partnership with Food Standards Agency, Safefood, Ulster University and Vincentian Partnership for Social Justice. But can you find anything in England, Scotland or Wales? If so please can you comment below so that  can put in the link! In the meantime government agencies and the media can be shown up as wanting to do little help in this area!

Changes needed Reducing salt consumption Reducing sugar consumption  Nutrition labelling on pre-packaged foods  Healthy food in schools

What we can do Well given my ongoing relationship with Tesco perhaps I shall keep on about this to them as well!

For more information on WCRD and the theme please go to Consumers International

Consumer Rights generally A recent survey showed that fewer than 45% of people in the UK use their consumer rights. Only 7% said that they know their legal rights well  and use them regularly. 5% know the basics of the Sale and Supply of Goods Act 1994 and Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982.  But there are of course many other laws protecting consumers, including EU laws of which very people are aware.

To keep up to date with changes in consumer law (Consumer Bill coming late in the year, which amongst other things will replace the Sale and Supply of Goods Act 1994 and Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982) and other consumer info sign up to the newsletter:

and of course if you need help in asserting your legal rights there are many tips here for complaining effectively and the up to date book on complaining effectively to always gain redress providing you with information, laws, advice, tips and templates can be found here.

 

Why you suck at gaining redress (and what to do about it)

So, you got poor service at the restaurant and didn’t complain or if you did complain you didn’t gain redress. You bought an item that’s faulty but didn’t get a refund. Why? What’s going on? How can you get that to which you are entitled?!

You need the adjustment

1) Your expectations are too low

You think that the item was cheap so what do you expect? You think the meal you had at that place last time was bad so you aren’t surprised when it is again. If a kettle was bought to boil water it should boil water. Simple! If you buy a meal it should be made with reasonable skill and care. If you had a bad meal there last time you should have complained and maybe things would have improved!

2) You don’t know your legal rights

The main one you need to know is The Consumer Rights Act 2015.  Items should be of satisfactory quality, be fit for purpose, be as described and last a reasonable length of time.

3) You think it will take too much time and effort

Going back to the shop arguing about refunds. Well, if you know your legal rights you won’t be arguing you’ll be assertive and if you still don’t gain redress you can take the matter further by which time you will be asking for more than a refund.

4) You shout at people on the ‘phone or in person.

Would you give me what I wanted if I yelled at you? Think, be polite particularly as often the person or people at fault aren’t usually the people to whom you complain. And in any case it is always better to write not ‘phone to complain effectively.

5) You’ve gone back to the wrong shop!

Yes I have heard of this being done, frequently! Check your facts first.

6) You think that because you have lost the receipt that you can’t get your money back

Wrong. You just need proof of purchase such as a credit card bill.

7) You don’t like complaining and aren’t assertive.

Fair enough, but seriously? You’d rather be out of pocket? If you are in the right you have nothing to worry about! And you can and should write, not do in person where possible anyway! See above!

8) You are complaining about something trivial and you aren’t out of pocket

There is a difference between complaining about 69p because it is the principle of the thing and complaining that you don’t like the colour of the carpet.

So, get out there and complain when something goes wrong! Much more at Top 20 Tips for effective complaining

book Logo cartoon cow at a laptop of book cover. How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results!

 

For more information, tips, advice, guidance, consumer rights and templates see GET THE BOOK! How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS!

 

 

Top 20 Tips for Complaining Effectively

How to Complain Effectively