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Complaining to Retail & Shopping Regulatory Bodies

By: Thomas Muller - Updated: 23 Jun 2017 | 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 OFT

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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also it wasnt once but twice he did this to him once ok benegit of doubt but twice now way i wasnt having it the thing was he didnt know i was married to himnow he does
sal - 23-Jun-17 @ 2:25 PM
Omg i just went in to Spar at Barton to top up Electric Meter to which the man topped it up straight away. Just before my husband went in to top up and he said im not doing that service on electric no more. you know if you have a condition cant walk or anything on barton the shop is close and good. But for this action from him not once but twice not topping the key up i wanna know why he said this to him im white my hubby is morrocan never been horrible to anyone. when i confronted him he put his head down didnt know what to say and to top it of i was immotional anyway as my hubby has been diagnosed with fibrosis so i just flipped at the asian boss yet ive never been like this towards anyone this sort of make a desicion cant be right on spar in bartonshops headington oxford
sal - 23-Jun-17 @ 2:20 PM
Hie, I gave my laptop for repairing on 6th march and there by asked them to fix it by 9th as I had flight on the next day. They promised but didnt send me my lappy on that day so I myself had to tk trouble and get my lappy. These people didn't refund my courier money and even charged £350 for it. I found my laptop on 10th but yet they haven't given me invoice. I have a doubt that these people have taken advantage of my urgency and there by charged me heavily. I am begging for my invoice and they aren't giving it to me. Please tell me what should I do
Ronnie - 13-Apr-17 @ 10:28 AM
Hi I live above a newsagents and have noticed the manager regularly takes extra money from certain elderly customers when these customers ask them to count out for what they're paying for is there anyone I can complain to anonymously I really hate seeing her take advantage of the vunerable I would say something to her but she's a nasty piece of work
Dobie - 10-Apr-17 @ 8:33 PM
Today I was in Ealing Broadway shopping centre and helped an elderly woman who was stressed say the staff in car phone warehouse deleted all her phone contacts from her mobile phone when she wanted help in removing two numbers only. I went to carphone warehouse with this lady and they initially said she asked them to delete all numbers and was rude and said basically to leave the shop. I really felt sorry for the lady as she used the phone for emergencies with all numbers so she could call someone when she needed them
Sar - 4-Apr-17 @ 11:35 PM
Hi I purchased my wedding dress from a Asian bridal store in Birmingham called Panache Boutique on 20 August 2016. I provided them with my wedding date of 5 December 2016 and they confirmed my collection date would be 15 November 2016. I started calling for updates a week prior to my collection date but each time would be told someone would call me back which never happened. They kept telling me my dress was still in production and would be here on or around the collection date. The collection date came and no call was made to myself by the store so I called them on 16 November 2016 to ask them what was going on. I was told there was a delay with the dress and I was guaranteed to get iton 3 December 2016 (2 days before my wedding) I panicked but was glad I was getting it in time. I booked myself in for a fitting for the 3rd December. I then received a call on 20 November 2016 by the store saying they were sorry but there's been another delay with the dress and I would now receive it on 12 December 2016 (7 days AFTER my wedding) I was in disbelief and disconnected the call. My sister then called as I was to upset to speak and they said there was nothing they could do and it would be here for the 12th. We've now had to rearrange the dates to the whole wedding and pay a price to do so. It's an Asian bridal store so I don't know if they're regulated but I want to make an official complaint. How do I do this? Thanks
Shabana - 21-Nov-16 @ 2:36 PM
On February 2016, I applied for MTN Data through TFG Group. They send SIM card to me, and they promise to swimswap and activate within 48 hours. But it was not actavicted I went to Westgate Foschini I spoke to Sifiso, he called the TFG HQ, they promise to activate within 48 hours. But it was not activated. By that time my R135.00 was dedactedwithout having Data.. On the 26th August I was at Westgate Foschini again with the same problem. They again promise to activate the simcard within 48 hours. I demanded that I must get my 7 months data cause it was dedacted while the simcard was not activated. On the 5th August I went to the Foschini store again,with the same problem, At long last it was activated but not swimswap I was given a new number. The problem was that they gave me one month data 2gk. What about 6 months data whichR135.00 was dedacted while the simcard was not activated.
Sonto - 12-Sep-16 @ 10:51 AM
Cem - Your Question:
There's a small corner shop in North Wales that was recently taken over by new people, they were okay at first but now they are forever short changing people and over charging on on pay points. I know for a fact as well that if an item came with a price so for example a can of rockstar shows 99p at the top of the can, they can not sell it for £1 I know it's a penny over but that's still illegal isn't it? This has been going for like 7 months as well.

Our Response:
If you feel that the shop in question is breaching trading laws, then you may wish to inform Trading Standards.
ComplaintExpert - 18-Aug-16 @ 12:08 PM
There's a small corner shop in North Wales that was recently taken over by new people, they were okay at first but now they are forever short changing people and over charging on on pay points. I know for a fact as well that if an item came with a price so for example a can of rockstar shows 99p at the top of the can, they can not sell it for £1 I know it's a penny over but that's still illegal isn't it? This has been going for like 7 months as well.
Cem - 17-Aug-16 @ 4:15 PM
I received a discount code from Littlewoods; spend £60 get £30 discount I ordered a pair of shoes costing £60 in December put the code in when I checked out & the shoes totalled £30. I received my statement in January staying I owed them £30 & paid the balance off in full. In May I received a statement that said I was in debt by £30 but no details. I had to telephone customer services 3 times every time i was told a staff member would look into and ring me back instead I received emails with totally incorrect information regarding why my account had been debited with the £30 eventually I found an number for their customer excellence team, where I was given the correct reason as to why my account had debited. I was told that I had entered the code incorrectly and I was therefore not entitled to the discount, I was furious as I would not have enteredthe code incorrectly and if for some reason I had surely their system would not have accepted the code . How can they decidethis 5 months after I have received the order an debit my account, as I explained if the voucher had been declined at the point of sale, I would not have gone ahead with the order. I have been told that there is nothing they can do as I cannot provide the code I used for the discount. I have written to the CEO, finance director & 2 other senior members of staff to request my account be credited & it closed but as yet not heard back. Is there an ombudsman I can contact to take it further. It is the principle that i find disgusting as how many other people have experienced the same!
Jacko - 10-May-16 @ 10:39 PM
Hi, I purchased two items (the same item in two sizes) from an online clothing retailer just before Christmas, when I emailed the company to request a return label as one wasn't included (which is unusual), they informed me I was out of their 7 day refund policy...I hadn't actually received the product myself until the 7 day policy expired due to the Christmas period and bank holidays etc. I informed them firstly I was surprised they hadn't extended their refund policy like 99% of other companies over the festive period and secondly it wasn't that the items didn't fit or I didn't like them, I was disappointed with the quality of the items. I was then informed I was two days out of the return policy but the management would be in touch with me as they could see I had ordered the same product in two sizes. This was 3rd Jan, I have sent 5 emails since and the only reply I have received is to say "a member of the customer service team will be in touch"... I'm not sure how to progress this complaint and the company are refusing to communicate with me? The company seems unprofessional and there isn't a number or chat issue on the website. Thanks
Lala21 - 3-Feb-16 @ 9:04 PM
I went to my corner shop which is a paypoint to pay my rent by cash. I know they usually charge to by card however I was paying £300 for rent by cash and the store manager said I had to pay an extra £1for every £100 I pay by cash. Is this legal and within their right ?
Mina11 - 12-Dec-15 @ 1:34 PM
Helpme! - Your Question:
On Sunday the 11th of October I purchased a wardrobe that cost £1000. The staff were so friendly and helpful I left the store really happy. I was given a timescale of 6-8 weeks. Tomorrow is the 6th December which will be week 8. I have heard nothing And have no idea if or when I will get my wardrobe. So two weeks ago I contacted them and spoke to the lovely member of staff that sold me the wardrobe the problem is this member of staff is now incredibly rude and unhelpful. His word were "at the end of the day it's not us who deal with it" "DHD have your order it's down to them to contact you we don't have any handlings with them" "like I said when your purchased your wardrobe it can take up to 8 weeks we are now on week 6" so I left the conversation feeling.miffed but I decided to leave it another 2 weeks. So today I called is west byfleet Surrey again and spoke to store manager who was the member of staff I purchased the wardrobe from and the one I had the previous conversation with. Very much like the last conversation was yet again incredibly unhelpful and also rather incompetent. As he stuttered through his excuses and was really rude! He wouldn't take any responsibility he said several times in the conversation "I don't know what your talking about" when I asked who the store was regulated by I got the response " look I'm new I don't know what your asking" "it's out of our hands" "we sell you the product then pass it to DHD they contact you" "it's nothing to do with us" "anyway it's shy of 8 weeks" so in actual fact tomorrow would be 8 weeks I am shy of the deadline which is up in 24 hours but now realise that it doesn't treat the customer fairly or train their staff correctly. I did get a customer service number unfortunately Steve didn't feel the need to mention it's closed at weekends. I am so angry I want to scream! I want to raise the biggest complaint and I am sick of being spoken to rudely please can someone help me!

Our Response:
In addition to the advice in the article, please see CAB link: If something you ordered hasn't arrived, here which should answer your question.
ComplaintExpert - 7-Dec-15 @ 12:41 PM
On Sunday the 11th of October I purchased a wardrobe that cost £1000. The staff were so friendly and helpful I left the store really happy. I was given a timescale of 6-8 weeks. Tomorrow is the 6th December which will be week 8. I have heard nothing And have no idea if or when I will get my wardrobe. So two weeks ago I contacted them and spoke to the lovely member of staff that sold me the wardrobe the problem is this member of staff is now incredibly rude and unhelpful. His word were "at the end of the day it's not us who deal with it" "DHD have your order it's down to them to contact you we don't have any handlings with them" "like I said when your purchased your wardrobe it can take up to 8 weeks we are now on week 6" so I left the conversation feeling.miffed but I decided to leave it another 2 weeks. So today I called is west byfleet Surrey again and spoke to store managerwho was the member of staff I purchased the wardrobe from and the one I had the previous conversation with. Very much like the last conversation was yet again incredibly unhelpful and also rather incompetent. As he stuttered through his excuses and was really rude! He wouldn't take any responsibility he said several times in the conversation "I don't know what your talking about" when I asked who the store was regulated by I got the response " look I'm new I don't know what your asking" "it's out of our hands" "we sell you the product then pass it to DHD they contact you" "it's nothing to do with us" "anyway it's shy of 8 weeks" so in actual fact tomorrow would be 8 weeks I am shy of the deadline which is up in 24 hours but now realise that it doesn't treat the customer fairly or train their staff correctly. I did get a customer service number unfortunately Steve didn't feel the need to mention it's closed at weekends. I am so angry I want to scream! I want to raise the biggest complaint and I am sick of being spoken to rudely please can someone help me!
Helpme! - 5-Dec-15 @ 12:28 PM
nesha - Your Question:
I returned a cooker to argos on the 15th November (after arranging on the 28th oct). I was told the refund would be in my account within a few days.it's now over 3 wks and no refund. I've emailed, called and even gone into the shop and still nothing. I am without a cooker and without my refund. who can I report them to?

Our Response:
Argos will have an official complaints procedure in place - you could give the head office a call and ask for this. Otherwise you could try Resolver, see link here. I hope this helps.
ComplaintExpert - 2-Dec-15 @ 2:19 PM
I returned a cooker to argos on the 15th November (after arranging on the 28th oct). I was told the refund would be in my account within a few days...it's now over 3 wks and no refund. I've emailed, called and even gone into the shop and still nothing.. I am without a cooker and without my refund.. who can I report them to?
nesha - 2-Dec-15 @ 12:39 AM
my son bought a pair of trainers from office in Silverburn Glasgow yesterday for his girlfriends birthday after saving up £90 he is 17 on getting them home I asked to see them they where dirty old worn shoes I took them back to Silverburn today the supervisers attitude was awful she says I must have worn them I explained he bought them as a gift she then says well she must have worn them I asked was she calling me a liar she got angry and said dont put words in my mouth I dont need to listen to this. My son is now £90 down and no birthday gift. Through twitter I have been told to return them to the head office and they will look at them are they going to tell me the same thing I have already sent them pictures of the shoes.They said they will send me a collect label which I have not yet received in my emails. I want this dealt with in the store that gave the dirty shoes
Lors - 11-Nov-15 @ 5:26 PM
lisa - Your Question:
Hi I would like to know how I stand I put my expensive watch into a shop for a change of battery it took him quite a while to take the old battery out once he fix that it took him a few attempt to put the back on now the small hand won't go pass the 12 so I went back and told him and he is saying to me how does he know that I brought the watch in that condition which is no true because I wear the watch all the time

Our Response:
Depending on the value of the watch you could use the Small Claims court, see link here. Unfortunately, it is a case of your word against his, therefore any evidence you can prove regarding his perceived negligence over your goods would be helpful to your case.
ComplaintExpert - 11-Nov-15 @ 11:54 AM
Hi I would like to know how I stand I put my expensive watch into a shop for a change of battery it took him quite a while to take the old battery out once he fix that it took him a few attemptto put the back on now the small hand won't go pass the 12 so I went back and told him and he is saying to me how does he know that I brought the watch in that condition which is no true because I wear the watch all the time
lisa - 10-Nov-15 @ 10:04 AM
@Alex a bit of social media sharing i.e Twitter usually helps this sort of thing.
Suze - 5-Nov-15 @ 12:41 PM
Hi, over three weeks ago I've made an online puchase of bedroom furniture. I used the chat service with one of their customer advisers who assured me that all items were in stock and we we arranged a delivery for a week later. I paid in full, over £2,500. However, couple of days later they sent me an email saying that the items I puchased were not in stock and offered me an alternative. I phoned them and asked for a full refund to which they agreed and said it would take 3-5 working days for the refund to reach my account. Week later and I still havn't received my refund. After contacting them, they told me that refunds take 14 days. Ok, it has now been over three weeks and I still haven't received my money. What can I do?
Alex - 4-Nov-15 @ 6:44 PM
hello, my 3 friendsand I bought Lacoste bag in Ashford shopping outlet same design and same price..we bought 4 pcs as we were able to avail discount..unfortunately upon returning home I was disappointed coz mine has a label that says "sample not for sale" same with my other friend but the other 2 has none...so 2 out of 4 has label "sample not for sale". So I rang the shop and told them,first they don't want to believe me so I tookphoto of it and sent tru email..accordingto them,they are not allowed to sell sample products in full price...but my question is how about the other 2 that paid same amount as me andhas no labelthat not for sale??? thank you
Marife - 3-Nov-15 @ 6:16 PM
Could I have some advice about some experience with an online print company? I ordered cards from them but had problems centring the image on the front part of the card. They provide a 'special intructions' box as part of the order process in which I requested that the image be centred and that if this was not the case for someone to contact me so that I could resolve prior to print. My cards arrived off-centre and on complaining, I was told that the service is automated so nobody reads comments in the 'special instruction box' and that I should have called them prior to ordering. There is nothing on the website that makes this clear. The print job cost me £70 and all they've offered is a discount on a reprint run. Do I have any comeback given that I supplied the file that they printed?
Liz - 16-Oct-15 @ 9:55 AM
CustomerX - Your Question:
Hey I want to know how I would go about making a complaint about my local shop? They overcharge, sell out of date products, they have a sewage problem that makes the shop smell and the floor unstable, any advice? Thanks

Our Response:
It is a criminal offence to sell food past its use by date, therefore you should contact Trading Standards regarding this, if you wish to report it. Also, if you have concerns about the cleanliness of a shop selling food, you should report them to your local Environmental Health department who will investigate. Please see CAB link, here. I hope this helps.
ComplaintExpert - 25-Sep-15 @ 11:45 AM
Hey I want to know how I would go about making a complaint about my local shop? They overcharge, sell out of date products, they have a sewage problem that makes the shop smell and the floor unstable, any advice? Thanks
CustomerX - 24-Sep-15 @ 12:18 PM
To keep it short and sweet.who do i contact im regards to name calling and down right rudeness from an independent trader (colliers uniform shop,Northfield,Birmingham) Myself and from what i can see from various facebook posts,im not the only one to deal with this rude man!someone else posed two and had 400 plus likes amd comments for this said man..he calls peoples children fat ,tells my son hes heads to big for the jumpers amd that ot must be hereditory that his big..that my son has a big belly and should go for a run before i take him in again!my sons three!!some of the comments ive heard from other parents are disgraceful..i would like to know where i could go or who to speak to in regards to this going further.surely its not right or acceptable for a 50 plus something man and owner of store to speak to customers and their children like that
Terri - 12-Sep-15 @ 11:02 AM
MrsLMT - Your Question:
I bought an item from an online retailer which I returned to them via post on or around the 21st July. Having had no notification from them that they had received the item I'd returned I contacted them on the 29th July when they clarified they'd received the item and was told I would have my refund within 30 days. To this day I have not received my refund. I have emailed them to make a complaint (on 25th August) and have not yet received a response.Your advice would be much appreciated.

Our Response:
You could perhaps send a letter/email stating that if you don't recieve your refund by a given time you will take legal action. I have included a link to Money Claims Online herewhich should help you further.
ComplaintExpert - 3-Sep-15 @ 2:12 PM
I bought an item from an online retailer which I returned to them via post on or around the 21st July. Having had no notification from them that they had received the item I'd returned I contacted them on the 29th July when they clarified they'd received the item and was told I would have my refund within 30 days. To this day I have not received my refund. I have emailed them to make a complaint (on 25th August) and have not yet received a response. Your advice would be much appreciated.
MrsLMT - 2-Sep-15 @ 9:32 PM
chezza1985 - Your Question:
HiI ordered some items online from a high street sports store, I ordered quite a lot as I'd bought various sizes - so I always had the intention of returning some of the items.I was going into town on a Sunday so I took the items with me that I didn't want so I could get a refund.I was told at the cash desk that they did not offer refunds and I would only be offered a credit note or exchange. I had nothing to exchange for the items and so really I wanted a refund. I asked the girl whether I would get a refund if I returned the items by post as they were an online purchase and she said no, the company does not provide refunds. so most disgruntled I had to accept a credit note.I was then most annoyed when I got home and decided to look online at the returns policy that I would have gotten a full refund had I posted the items back. It was for £151 so anyone in their right mind would take a refund over a credit note - especially as I'd clearly ordered multiples of the same items.I've complained to the company and after numerous emails they are refusing to accept any blame at all or even apologise! the latest email is that I know their returns policy because I've bought from them before. I personally don't care what I've done before I was told the wrong information and because of this I am significantly out of pocket.Please please can someone advise me on what I can do and how I can take this furtherthank you

Our Response:
I can only suggest that you contact the online shop yourself and try and negotiate with them as I presume you would have read that refunds were offered before you purchased the items. It seems an odd set-up if they will let you return items online and will only offer a credit note in the shop. Did they give a reason for only offering you a credit note? I think you need to sort this out with the company directly first before you attempt to take it further.
ComplaintExpert - 14-Aug-15 @ 11:35 AM
Hi I ordered some items online from a high street sports store, I ordered quite a lot as I'd bought various sizes - so I always had the intention of returning some of the items. I was going into town on a Sunday so I took the items with me that I didn't want so I could get a refund. I was told at the cash desk that they did not offer refunds and I would only be offered a credit note or exchange. I had nothing to exchange for the items and so really I wanted a refund. I asked the girl whether I would get a refund if I returned the items by post as they were an online purchase and she said no, the company does not provide refunds. so most disgruntled I had to accept a credit note. I was then most annoyed when I got home and decided to look online at the returns policy that I would have gotten a full refund had I posted the items back. It was for £151 so anyone in their right mind would take a refund over a credit note - especially as I'd clearly ordered multiples of the same items. I've complained to the company and after numerous emails they are refusing to accept any blame at all or even apologise! the latest email is that I know their returns policy because I've bought from them before. I personally don't care what I've done before I was told the wrong information and because of this I am significantly out of pocket. Please please can someone advise me on what I can do and how I can take this further thank you
chezza1985 - 13-Aug-15 @ 1:10 PM
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