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Complaining to Retail & Shopping Regulatory Bodies

By: Thomas Muller - Updated: 19 Feb 2021 | comments*Discuss
Consumer Direct Office Of Fair Trading

When a consumer buys a product or service they can feel safe and empowered in the knowledge that if anything goes wrong there are expert and influential organisations ready to fight in their corner.


The Office of Fair Trading was established in 1973 and is now well recognised as the UK’s consumer and competition authority. It is a non-ministerial government department focused on maintaining a fair and consumer friendly marketplace.

It aids consumers by empowering them with the knowledge and skills to make informed decisions and get the most out of their marketplace. It also endeavours to make sure that consumers have as much choice across the marketplace as possible, believing that with choice they hold real power.

The OFT helps resolve complaints with service providers through its advice service Consumer Direct.

Consumer Direct

Consumer Direct is a telephone and internet service that provides people with advice and information regarding consumer issues. It is funded by the OFT and produced in collaboration with Local Authority Trading Services.

Consumer Direct is a ground level service that connects with consumers on a one-to-one basis, absorbing information and intelligence that it then used to inform the efforts and campaigns of the OFT and Local Authority Trading Standards Services.

If a consumer has a problem or disagreement with a supplier of goods or services - whether it relates to defective products, bad workmanship or overpricing - then Consumer Direct is on hand to offer clear, practical and unbiased advice on how to resolve it.

Single Contact Point

The advice is free but as the telephone service operates on a 0845 number callers must pay for each call they make. Consumer Direct’s reasoning for using a paid number is that it allows them to publicise one single recognisable national number, rather than a confusing variety of regional numbers.

This helps promote the grand Consumer Direct design of providing single contact point where basic enquiries can be dealt with immediately and more specialist issues referred the appropriate Trading Standards office.

Local Authority Trading Standards Services

The efforts of Trading Standards in sustaining and improving consumer protection, and maintaining fair trading and the safety of consumer goods, are represented by around 200 local council offices around the UK.

Trading Standards provides a wealth of information regarding customer problems and how to resolve them. It also informs consumers about their rights so that they can support their claims.

Specialist Trade Associations and Regulatory Bodies

If complaint concerns the services or products of a trader that is a member of a trade association, or one regulated by a professional body, then the overseeing authority may well be able to offer guidance in dealing with the problem.

Within the trading sector there are a great number of different associations to refer to depending on the type of service. For example there is a Hairdressing Council and a Radio, Electrical and Television Retailers’ Association. A list of associations is provided on the Trading Standards website. If this does not provide the appropriate regulatory body then the Citizens Advice Bureau will always be able to help.

First Steps

There are many different organisations that can help a complaint find its resolution but a problem should always be first of all taken to the service provider directly responsible. Many companies have their own complaints procedures and customer service departments that are focused on resolving customer problems, and most are a solved in this manner.

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4yrs ago I ordered a dress from Fabletics. I ordered on line and ticked for VIP account not knowing what this really was. July last year 2020 - I noticed a deduction of £44 on my bank statement from Fabletics. I never realised they had been deducting £44 a month since Nov 2016. I thought that amount was for something else. Any way as soon as I saw that I contacted my Bank and they confirmed this. And yet the card it was deducted from was cancelled they were still able to deduct. I contacted Fabletics who instantly refunded 25 x £44 individual payments back to my Bank. They still owed my 17 x £44. They stated that I would have to spend on goods. So when I tried to - I was told I had to buy items that were at £44 only. At that time there were no items @ £44. If I wanted something that cost £100 they would deduct £44 but then I would still have to pay £56 from my Bank and yet there was all my money sitting there with them. So I left this for the time being. I contacted Retail Obudsmanwho stated I should contact Citizen Advice or small claims court. CA more or less called me an idiot. I then tried to place an order in January 2021. There were items at £44 reduced to £39. I tried to order different leggings n types and yet they still wanted to charge me £6 or £8 or £34 or £46- and these were not delivery charges as delivery was free. i complained to Fabletics again stating that they are not allowing me to spend my money without them wanting to charge me - they refunded 1 x £44. They still owe me 16 x £44 - can someone help?????
Chris - 19-Feb-21 @ 12:58 PM
I placed an order with Zara clothing company online early December. I received an email advising that the parcel had been handed to me a few days later yet nothing had been delivered to me. I called Zara customer services and was told that they would look into it and call me back. After 2 weeks I called again, and was advised that as yodel said they’d hand delivered there was nothing I could do. I asked for proof of delivery and was told they would call me back. Days later I called again, to be told that my parcel was delivered to a street (no address), near my house and that I should go knocking to see if I could locate the parcel. No refund nor replacement parcel and I am now £57 out of pocket!
Miz - 7-Jan-21 @ 4:02 PM
I ordered Christmas presents from house of fraser online. Around £500. The order was apparently left on the street in a green box bin without a lid with a note posted saying it was in a safe place. The picture on my hermes app shows it left in an open box on the street. After hermes investigation it was concluded that the package was not in a safe place and I was to contact the supplier for a refund or replacement. At first I wanted replacement but this was over a month ago. I've had no reply, no resolution, I call customer services by phone every day and no one ever answers, I have sent around 30 emails at least, I have also contacted them via Twitter. I'm so worried, its christmas in less than a week and I have had to borrow money from family to but the gifts again and still dont know if or when I'm going to get my money back. House of frasee, such a big chain but not at all delivering a good service to their online consumers. Please someone help me or point me in the right direction.
Lisa - 20-Dec-20 @ 10:06 AM
Hi I am concerned about my local shop in Girdle Toll Irvine Ayrshire it is a cost cutter This store has overcharged me on the last three times that I have visited it and I have been checking my purchases each time and every time he has overcharged me each time He just doesn’t seem to care This store is right next to sheltered house’s and I am concerned that he is doing this to the people that stay in there My son came in last night and I could not believe he was also overcharged on two occasions it also has stock that is out of date I will definitely not go back to this store
Pammy - 2-Dec-20 @ 12:56 PM
My step-daughter purchased a jacket from the ZARA store in Maidstone, Kent. Given the Covid restrictions she wasn’t’ permitted to try the jacket on instore. When she got home she tried it on, unfortunately it didn’t fit. When returning the jacket (30 minute drive) she was told that as she had misplaced her receipt she couldn’t have a refund or credit note. They acknowledged that they sold the jacket she was returning but for all they know, they said she could have stolen it!! This policy of no refund without a receipt was not displayed at the point of sale (the sales till) nor was it displayed anywhere. When I asked about this they said it was on their website and the back of the receipt! Why ‘hide’ these important facts I ask. Customer Services agreed with me but said they could do absolutely nothing. DO NOT SHOP AT ZARA stores, they are cheats!!!!
wembley - 23-Nov-20 @ 11:09 AM
I stay locally near a corner shop I have been saying to them for months about getting a job they are discriminating against my height and I was told by someone who already works in the shop that I wouldn’t get hired because “I am too small!” What should I do?
C24 - 16-Oct-20 @ 6:07 PM
I have just been to The Bottle & Basket in woking on the Hermitage road. I opened a Diet Coke and it was completely flat, I went in and asked for another, I opened it in front of the lady & that to was flat. She slammed my money down and I was saying she will need to complain to her supplier. She started screaming at me why had I opened the diet cokes. The husband then started shouting at me saying I am ripping them off. He pushed the door close & wouldn’t let me leave the premises until I yelled at him to release the door. He then proceeded to give me the middle finger as I ran away and he swore several times, whilst using the middle finger.I am utterly disgusted & shook up. I will never go there again and would recommend no one else does!
L - 22-Sep-20 @ 5:50 PM
Hi ive been to my local shop to buy a few bits of shopping 3 times Ive been overcharged and they seem to be adding products on i havnt got .Have had to go back a few times when you only suppose to go out once its disgusting in these times the shop is costcutters Ardgowan road SE6
Me me - 7-Apr-20 @ 10:33 AM
WHSmith in Bury st Edmunds,suffolk charged me £20.19 for 30gr. of amber leaf tobbaco and lied claiming i would find same prices everywhere and i found it at normal cost in tesco! It is a outrage!
Alex - 31-Mar-20 @ 8:58 PM
Hi our local asian shop, namely worldwide foods in old trafford are taking advantage of the current crises and are overcharging on everything. I understand this is the same with all their branches. Also i believe they are takin advantage of their staff and pay them only £5 an hour.
Aaty - 24-Mar-20 @ 7:29 PM
I’ve just been to an Asian shop in Wolverhampton and the prices are 3/4 times higher then normal. Just two rolls of toilet paper for £2.49 and four for £7.99. It is disgusting! Should they be allowed to do that by law in this country?? They are criminals because they are looting people in crisis. Please do something so that people on low income can still be able to feed their families and children. These shop keepers suppose to help their community not ripping them off.
San - 20-Mar-20 @ 4:42 PM
Hi all meat and grocery shops in oxford are overcharging prices 3 / 4 times higher then reasonable prices( oxford meat centre, s&s greengrocer etc) .. . its hard to survive because of these kind of ripping off .. when they knew that we have to buy meat and other stuff to feed our children because of the halal food issue...on top of that they never give detailed receipt with the product,amount and price on it. When asked they argue or simply said they can only give a counter machine printed receipt.
Oxford20 - 20-Mar-20 @ 12:46 AM
Grocery shops in Hayes town, and uxbridge road. Are charging 3 to 4 times high prices for meat and other grocery items. Plz do somethng
Aleesha - 19-Mar-20 @ 7:26 PM
Purchased a new stroller from Argos yesterday, via click and collect. Opened the box today and there’s a funny smell, and upon further investigation we find a bag of what looks poo in the basket underneath. Spoke to Argos help who simply apologised and said take it back to the store. Surely they should be doing more, it was sold and brought as new and its toxic waste.
Sammeh_T - 6-Feb-20 @ 12:31 PM
Today (01/11/2019) I and my kids were in golocal extra(436-488 burnage laneM19 1LH) and wanted to change a voucher for £10 because we askedfor a 3G one but they gave us a Virgine Mobilevoucher instead. We gave the voucher that they gave us by mistake and the shop assistant said that he won't change our voucher because it was brought before 2 weeks. I said that the mistake wasn't mine but his because he gave us the wrong voucher. I asked for his name but he started shouting in a rude way in front of my kids which one of the is only 5 years old and the other 13 years old.
Vesi - 1-Nov-19 @ 11:54 AM
Our local corner shop has now 3 times tried his luck over charging me. First time I gave him the benefit of the doubt and thought maybe he’s made a mistake and questioned it. The second time I questioned it again and but, this time wasn’t so sure it was a mistake and the next time I went in I was very vigilant. The third time I totted up in my head what my bill would be and low and behold it was more that I had got it to so asked for an itemised receipt and on there was £3.00 paypoint charges (gas and electric cards) and £2.58 confection charged. He tried to fob me off by saying he’d scan an item twice which of course complete nonsense. Can anyone give me any information on who to report this to because I don’t want him ripping off the local community and getting away with it. Thanks in advance.
Andy - 11-Aug-19 @ 1:12 PM
I’ve sent a return back well over a month ago to ASOS instead of noose and monkey. I realised this when my money was not return and traced the parcel through click and collect. Everything has been signed for and by mistake the parcel containing suits worth quite a bit of money have gone missing in ASOS warehouse. I’ve tried to work with ASOS after contacting noose and monkey for prod they haven’t received the parcel and misplaced it as well. Since then ASOS have not located the parcel and really haven’t been helpful. I really do think they have sold the suits on as they sell the same suits but they won’t accept liability and keep saying they are looking for the parcel. What can I do to get this resolved? I already raised a complaint also been on resolver !
Ben - 13-May-19 @ 4:38 PM
HI, I have recently complained to the LGSCO in ref to a complaint and ongoing saga with my local council. I gave a fairly in depth and factual account showing a,s best I could the story with good well documented fact's. This farce has been ongoing until the LA department said we are not going to discuss it any more in essence tough. As a tax payer I found this to be a breech of my rights, so contacted the LGSCO. My first telephone contact with them, found the guy to be pretty flat and disinterested this followed within a pretty quick time, I received an email and a copy of the so called decision we won't be investigating !. I wrote requesting they REVIEW their decision "my reason I had given them full facts from me yet nothing more than a this was dealt reply from the LA, I rang again but was put through to a lady for a better explanation she was as eager as the first person, quite bullish saying I was given their answer "which basically was nothing ! she did however carry on talking at me saying "oh we were told by the department at the LA" I was complaining about, Saying this was all dealt with and informed me THEY suggested I WAS LYING. It beggars belief I give pages of FACTS about poor treatment from Bristol City Council they say"oh it's been dealt and he's a liar ? SO WE WONT BE INVESTIGATING ALBEIT A VERY SERIOUS ISSUE. I AM SURE AS YOUR WEB SITE WRITES AS IT'S A LOCAL AUTHORITY THEY WON'T INVESTIGATE IT'S LIKE ASKING THE DODGY POLICEMAN TO INVESTIGATE THE DODGY POLICEMAN. Burles.
Burles - 6-Mar-19 @ 3:54 PM
I placed an order with a company on the 1st December. 3 e mails later my order has not arrived. I've had e mail correspondence from the company with contradictory information about when my order will be with me. Who else can I complain to please. Some regulatory body? Thanks
Help - 28-Dec-18 @ 4:52 PM
I had retailer agreement on 22nd May 2018 with Malthurst Retail Ltd(franchise agreement) but unfortunately MRH terminated my agreement on 2nd July 2018 without any reasons i requested themto give me reasons but they declined. Could I do anything?
Rafiq - 4-Sep-18 @ 9:47 PM
Hiya I sold my phone to a company called IPhone Recycler through Sell The Mobile website. I sent my phone special delivery and had a confirmation email that it arrived on Saturday (18th August 2018) and they stated it was with the technicians but they needed my code to unlock the phone. The website states they send payment within the day of receiving the handset. Since then, it has been 4 days and they have not answered any of my email updates, phone calls and the contact number on their website rings through to a travel agency’s. I believe this to be fraud and they have effectively stolen my phone and I have received no money whatsoever and I have no idea how to proceed?
Ron - 23-Aug-18 @ 7:36 AM
@Amy - You would have to get in touch with the company again directly and ask to speak to a line manager. You can also ask for the company's official complaint procedure (all companies have one).
Rache90 - 10-Aug-18 @ 11:32 AM
I returned two separate orders to ASOS and received an email on the 8th June 2018 saying it had been received and £20 would be refunded to be in 5-7 working days. I then received an email on the 18th June 2018 confirming they had received my second return and were refunding me £157.49. It's now the 7th August and i still have not had my money. Every time I get in touch I keep getting told 5 working days, I had to send copies of my bank statements to prove to them I hadn't received my money. Can anyone help?
Amy - 7-Aug-18 @ 8:31 AM
Sophia- Your Question:
We ordered a tailor made bridal outfit fron an asian boutiwue in Blackburn. They took all the measurements including length of gown when 4 inch heels would be worn. The outfit has come back too short and with dirt marks all inside. There isn't enough time to order another one longer which they haven't offered anyway but they said they could only offer 50£ off and that we must not have told them about the heels. Is there anyone we could contact? Also the owner was shouting at us that we paid nothing for outfit in first place when it was the price advertised and near enough 2000£!!!

Our Response:
In addition to the advice in the article, please also see small claims court, via the link here.
ComplaintExpert - 23-Jul-18 @ 10:32 AM
We ordered a tailor made bridal outfit fron an asian boutiwue in Blackburn. They took all the measurements including length of gown when 4 inch heels would be worn. The outfit has come back too short and with dirt marks all inside. There isn't enough time to order another one longer which they haven't offered anyway but they said they could only offer 50£ off and that we must not have told them about the heels. Is there anyone we could contact? Also the owner was shouting at us that we paid nothing for outfit in first place when it was the price advertised and near enough 2000£!!!
Sophia - 22-Jul-18 @ 11:46 AM
I purchased a fishtank from all ponds solutions and as I opened the package it was damaged badly,,the driver got me to sign before I could check the goods saying he was in a rush,,the courier was pallet ways, I phoned the driver to come back but said not my problem and put the phone down,,I contacted all ponds solutions and they are waiting for a response from courier,,they say it's not in their interest to do anything as it was signed for,,
Jules - 17-Apr-18 @ 8:56 PM
@Jilly - it's up to the shop want they want to charge. If you were not happy, you would have had the option to walk out of the shop at the time. Not much you can do if you have bought and smoked them!
MaL67 - 12-Apr-18 @ 9:30 AM
I purchased a packet of cigarettes from a shop in Bury which charged me £9.85 in all other shops they are £8.00. I think this is way out of order, is there anything I can do?
Jilly - 11-Apr-18 @ 11:35 AM
Hi. I have been trying to speak to sports direct customer service for few weeks and no one picks up the phone, automated service has a message and then the call get disconnected. Very very 3rd class service. I don't understand how can regulatory authority allows this to happen. Shame
Ayya - 8-Jan-18 @ 4:51 PM
@Ray - I'd complain to the shop owner - but the NHS is trying to encourage the rise of a price of a packet in order to save lives.
BNN - 7-Dec-17 @ 2:06 PM
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