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Consultation launched on consumer champion

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Consumer minister Kevin Brennan has started a public consultation on the launch of a Consumer Advocate to champion consumer rights. The consultation will focus on proposed powers and the role of the advocate, who will be given a mandate to ensure that consumers get a fairer deal in the future.

 

The government revealed plans to appoint a Consumer Advocate earlier this year as part of the White Paper, A Better Deal for Consumers: Delivering Real Help Now and Change for the Future. This set out a package of measures designed to get consumers a better deal in the downturn and strengthen their rights. Brennan said: "The Consumer Advocate’s job will be to fight consumers’ corner as a new national figurehead. The advocate will support consumers, take legal action on their behalf, help them to get compensation and warn consumers about latest scams. This is especially important during the downturn when people’s finances are hard pressed.

 

"We will advertise the role shortly and today we’re seeking the public’s views on the role and powers that the advocate will have, both in the short term and in the future." The consultation seeks views on enabling the advocate to take collective legal action on behalf of groups of individual consumers. This would create a new mechanism through which consumers could get redress and compensation.

 

It also seeks views on giving the advocate the power to pay back compensation to UK consumers who have lost out to overseas businesses, how the advocate can improve consumer education and how best to communicate with vulnerale consumers. The government wants the advocate to also act as chair of consumer focus.

 

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