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Consumer Advice

Trading Standards - Highland Council

Consumer Direct
Tel 08454 04 05 06
UK government advice centre online or by phone for unbiased advice on consumer rights.  If they cannot help they will refer you to another agency.  Help for you to achieve a satisfactory result with complaints   the advice is FREE and you can call as often as you like.  So don't lose money on faulty goods or poor workmanship.  Get the help you need.

Trading Standards - Inverness Tel 0845 6004222

Trading Standards In Scotland

Scottish Consumer Council

Consumer Complaints

Trading Standards

Consumer & Competition Policy From the DTI

Consumer Direct Regional Roll-out

Citizens Advice

British Board of Film Classification
British Standards Institution
Consumers in Europe Group
Convention of Scottish Local Authorities
Department of Trade and Industry
Environmental Health Institute
Financial Services Authority
Health and Safety Executive
Local Authorities Co-ordinators of Regulatory Services
National Association of CABx
National Federation of Consumer Groups
National Weights and Measures Laboratory
The Office of Fair Trading
Scottish Executive
Scottish Parliament
Scottish Consumers cross party group on consumer issues
Scottish Courts Service
Trading Standards Institute
Trading Standards Net
UK Parliament

Advertising Standards Authority
Association Of British Travel Agents
BBC Online Watchdog
Community Legal Service
Consumer Gateway
Data Protection Commissioner
Department of Trade and Industry
Fairdeal Local Trading Standards
Food Standards Agency
HM Customs and Excise
Local Authorities Coordinators of Regulatory Services
Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux
National Consumer Council
National Lottery Commission
Office Of Fair Trading
Office of Gas and Electricity Markets
Office Of Telecommunications
Office of Water Services
Trading Standards Central

Consumer Organisations
Air Transport Users Council
BBC Watchdog On-Line
Consumers' Association Publishers of 'Which?' Magazine
Consumer Information in Wales
Consumer Support Network
Euroconsumer run by Citizens Advice
Foodaware Consumers' Food Group
General Consumer Council for Northern Ireland
NCF National Consumer Federation
OFTEL Advisory Committees
People's Panel 5,000 - strong focus group used by the Government
Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents
Scottish Consumer Council
Timeshare Consumers Association
Welsh Consumer Council Education Website

Ombudsmen & Regulators
Architects Registration Board
ASA Advertising Standards Authority
ABTA Association of British Travel Agents
British and Irish Ombudsman Association
British Board of Film Classification
BSE Review Report
BSI British Standards Institution
Charity Commission
Civil Aviation Authority ATOL Section
Committee of Advertising Practice ASA Codes of Advertising and Sales Promotion
Council of Mortgage Lenders
Financial Ombudsman Service

The Financial Ombudsman Service provides consumers with a free, independent service for resolving a wide range of disputes with financial firms -   from insurance and mortgages to savings and investments.
consumer helpline: 0845 080 1800
email: complaint.info@financial-ombudsman.org.uk

Financial Services Authority
Financial Services Authority Consumer Help
FSA Food Standards Agency
ICSTIS Independent Committee for the Supervision of Telephone Information Services
Independent Television Commission
Information Commissioner
Internet Watch Foundation UK monitoring organisation
Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency - Medical Devices
Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency - Medicines
National Lottery Commission
National Lottery Commission
OFCOM Office of Communications
OFGEM Office of Gas and Electricity Markets
OFTEL Advisory Committees
OFWAT Economic Regulator for the Water Industry in England and Wales
Ombudsman for Estate Agents
Removals Industry Ombudsman Scheme
Scottish Legal Services Ombudsman
Security Industry Authority
STRD Standards and Technical Regulations Directorate in DTI
UKAS United Kingdom Accreditation Service
VSC Video Standards Council
Wine Standards Board

See Also
Consumer Groups


Safe From Scams

Premium Rate Phone Numbers can be complained about via this government body. Tel 0800 500212

Rogue Dialler Programmes
See the BBC Breakfast item on this problem

To protect your computer from Rogue diallers and unwanted programmes
Firefox web browser  - an alternative browser blocking pop-ups and more.
Microsoft Windows updates use regularly to update your browser
Spybot Surf and Destroy Finds spyware for you to delete.
Lava Soft  - Ad-aware - Easy to use and seeks unwanted programmes on your PC

Unwanted Junk Mail
You can have a say about the direct mail that comes through your letter box. The Mailing Preference Service supports your right to choose.   You can register with the Mailing Preference Service if you choose not to receive direct mail.

Unwanted Telephone Sales Calls
The Telephone Preference Service (TPS) helps you to make sure your telephone number is no longer available to organisations who may telephone you with offers and information you do not wish to receive.  You can do this by contacting companies directly and asking them not to phone you or you can register with the Telephone Preference Service.
Mobile phones can also be registered online or call
0845 0700707.

Check here for firms abusing your text message system and ripping off customers by sending rogue texts with extortionate charges on your phone bill.

Unwanted Sales Faxes
The Fax Preference Service (FPS) gives an individual (which includes consumers) the opportunity to register fax numbers on which they do not wish to receive direct marketing messages.
To do this register with the Fax Preference Service.

Reducing Direct Mailings To You
Registering with the MPS can reduce the amount of personally addressed direct mailings you receive by up to 95%. Personally addressed mailings are those that have a named addressee – this can be yourself or a previous resident. It cannot stop mailing from companies with whom you already have dealings. To find out more, visit www.mpsonline.org.uk , call 0845 703 4599, or write to MPS, Freepost 29 LON20771, London W1E 0ZT.

Register To Opt Out Of Royal Mails Door To Door Service
Door to Door is the Royal Mail’s direct marketing service that delivers unaddressed mail – such as flyers, circulars and supermarket leaflets. Registering will stop these being delivered to your door, however it does not stop mail addressed to “The Occupier” as the Royal Mail are legally required to deliver these. To receive an application pack to register, write to: Door to Door Opt outs, Royal Mail, Room 130 Wheatstone House, Wheatstone Rd, SWINDON SN3 5JW

Write To Senders Of Mail To Stop Sending
Where mail is addressed to “The Occupier” or is unaddressed and delivered by organisations or individuals other than the Royal Mail, write to the sender indicating that you no longer wish to receive mailings from them (you can also email if possible). Organisations who receive a written indication that you wish to be removed from their mailing list are legally obliged to stop sending marketing materials within a reasonable time. You can also write to companies that you already deal with e.g. bank, credit card company, utility providers etc to request that they do not send you marketing materials for other services.

Information Commissioner - Bogus Agencies

Warning  -  Phone Calls - They Are Selling Kitchens
People in Caithness are being contacted by people introducing themselves as "Are You the Home Owner" and that they have £60,000 for the area.  But they are basically selling fitted kitchens.  Be very careful what you are signing up for if you do at all.  As we always say on this web site If you did not want something why buy it from the first person who turns up offering gifts.  Check with your local trading standards office before going any further.  Remember if it seems too good to be true it usually is not worth the problems you may get into by taking up the offer.  This is high pressure sales techniques so be very wary of accepting anything for FREE - it often is not what it seems.  Do not invite anyone to your home, do not give any information about yourself or your house on the phone, Ask Yourself.  Do I know these people?  Trading Standards warn that some companies do not finish the work in these telephone led schemes.  If you need a new kitchen get some local quotes and check out companies yourself - you will save money and not be scammed.   Please Tell All Your Friends, Relatives, Neighbours and any vulnerable people around you to be be very careful about who they give information about themselves.   Caithness is being targeted right now but other parts of Highland and elsewhere may be in the firing line.  You may be able to think this one through but others may not so please discuss it with them to save everyone money or ending up with an expensive item they did not want or need.  The opening question is "Are you the homeowner?  Do Not Tell them.  If you ask for details about the company they will hang up Hardly a reputable company.  We have had two calls already at the web site.   And see Cons Scams and Unethical Selling Techniques 

Be Afraid Be Very Afraid For Your Money
The Amway Rip Off

The IBS Experience

Think Carefully
When contacted by phone or at the doorstep.
If they ask at the start are you the Home owner - STOP and think why are they asking that.  they want to sell you something and council house owners or those in rented places cannot usually sign credit and loan agreements that they want to see as they have not got enough security.  REMEMBER you could lose your home if you get into debt with these companies contacting you out of the blue.  The agreements you sign may be legally enforceable.
You have seven days to get out of anything you sign but can you find a number to contact them on before the time runs out.

Simple Rules & Thoughts
Never invite anyone to your home who contacts you by phone, fax or email.

Before you do invite a company check them out.  Get their address and phone number.  Ask a friend or colleague about the company before you ask them to offer you goods or services.  If in doubt contact your local trading standards office and tell them your fears about the contact you have had.

Watch out for slick sales techniques selling items sometimes covers up a potential pyramid selling deal where you can make money allegedly by getting more people to sign up to buy something and you are promised commission on all future sales.  This can come under many guises - Cash For Life or some other phrase.

Talk to elderly relatives and get it into their heads not to deal with doorstep salesmen - ALWAYS say NO.  You cannot possibly be sure about anyone who just turns up.  Do not invite them in.  Give them no personal information.

Shred all personal documents you may be throwing away.  Crooks are now known to be raiding dustbins for bank statements and credit card details and anything else where  they can get a hold of your money.

Think Think Think
If you wanted something you would make enquires yourself of companies and businesses you already know about. 

It always pays to get two or three quotes for work from a range of companies you know well to get price comparisons.

Never Never Sign Up On the Spot
Reputable companies will not insist on you signing anything
NEVER pay up front deposits to people you do not know.  You may never see them or your money again.
The scams are many and varied.  If in doubt contact the consumer protection or in some cases the police if you are pestered.  You may help someone else.