'Don't kill Consumer Focus' blog discussion

This is the discussion to link on the back of Martin's blog. Please read the blog first, as this discussion follows it.
Read Martin's "Don't kill Consumer Focus" Blog.


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  • Sorry Martin, but from what I remember, Consumer Focus does policy, it doesn't really stand up for the consumer, especially when Energywatch was disbanded in its favour.

    What else have they actually done for us consumers? I don't remembering hearing much about their work, so to me they're like Ofcom, less use than a chocolate fireguard.
  • Alpine_Star
    Alpine_Star Posts: 1,353
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    Sorry Martin, but from what I remember, Consumer Focus does policy, it doesn't really stand up for the consumer, especially when Energywatch was disbanded in its favour.

    What else have they actually done for us consumers? I don't remembering hearing much about their work, so to me they're like Ofcom, less use than a chocolate fireguard.

    Well for starters just 10 days ago they single-handedly forced npower to refund £70m in gas overcharging http://www.consumerfocus.org.uk/news/millions-in-npower-customer-refunds-are-welcomed-by-consumer-watchdog

    Not bad when you consider that their annual cost to the taxpayer is a tenth of that sum alone.
  • MSE_Martin
    MSE_Martin Posts: 8,273
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    Well for starters just 10 days ago they single-handedly forced npower to refund £70m in gas overcharging http://www.consumerfocus.org.uk/news/millions-in-npower-customer-refunds-are-welcomed-by-consumer-watchdog

    Not bad when you consider that their annual cost to the taxpayer is a tenth of that sum alone.

    Yep - plus jointly with trading standards the pushed the companies into accepting that their sales staff must obey no cold callers signs

    Plus they have launched an investigation into ISA transfer times, the savings in interest on that alone will run into the millions for consumers.
    Martin Lewis, Money Saving Expert.
    Please note, answers don't constitute financial advice, it is based on generalised journalistic research. Always ensure any decision is made with regards to your own individual circumstance.
    Don't miss out on urgent MoneySaving, get my weekly e-mail at www.moneysavingexpert.com/tips.
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  • Would it not be possible for this organisation to take a small percentage of any money it gets back for consumers. Then it would be self-financing. Or maybe they could take this percentage from the the supplier as legitimate costs?
  • You can lobby your MP here to stop the closure:

    (w)ww.noshockdoctrine.iparl.com/lobby/50 (sorry still can't post links)


    Dave
  • short_bird
    short_bird Posts: 3,617
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    edited 12 October 2010 at 10:11AM
    Where on earth is everybody supposed to go for help - apart from here? The CAB must be shaking in their boots... there aren't enough of them to meet demand as it is!

    Consumer Focus, like Energywatch, could be described as a contradiction in terms: a useful quango. Not all quangos are surplus to requirements as far as the individual is concerned.
    Cancel the kitchen scraps for lepers and orphans, no more merciful beheadings, and call off Christmas.
  • short_bird
    short_bird Posts: 3,617
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    Sorry Martin, but from what I remember, Consumer Focus does policy, it doesn't really stand up for the consumer, especially when Energywatch was disbanded in its favour.

    What else have they actually done for us consumers? I don't remembering hearing much about their work, so to me they're like Ofcom, less use than a chocolate fireguard.

    That was the idea when they were set up: Consumer Focus would concentrate more on policy and and lobbying to get the changes made for all consumers instead of handling individual complaints, using data from calls and emails to see where they could make the most difference. ISA transfer times, npower refunds and no cold calling affects all of us to a greater and lesser degree.
    Cancel the kitchen scraps for lepers and orphans, no more merciful beheadings, and call off Christmas.
  • I agree that Consumer Focus has played its part in some way, however it IS a huge Quango and do we really public money to pay for an organisation set up to campaign for consumers?

    Surely it should be for government to spend our taxes in making good laws and provide practical help rather than campaigning. Energywatch was a great practical body, however Consumer Focus has given up much of the practical aspect of work that Energywatch did.

    In the energy sector there is already OFGEM and CAB, OFT and Consumer Direct. They are all paid for by the tax payer and all act on behalf of the consumer. Let's have this pared down so we can really see what what the issues are without these organisations all releasing their own separate pr on the same issues and making jobs for themselves.

    Who knows - businesses may actually have to listen to CUSTOMERS!
  • short_bird
    short_bird Posts: 3,617
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    Who knows - businesses may actually have to listen to CUSTOMERS!

    Not unless somebody has the powers to force them to listen or respect, or admit they have made mistakes. Consumers may pay their wages but this doesn't mean larger businesses are going to listen to either their consumers or their staff or treat anyone with respect.

    Why is MSE here? Partly to point out inequitable treatment.
    Cancel the kitchen scraps for lepers and orphans, no more merciful beheadings, and call off Christmas.
  • I agree that Consumer Focus has played its part in some way, however it IS a huge Quango and do we really public money to pay for an organisation set up to campaign for consumers?

    In the energy sector there is already OFGEM and CAB, OFT and Consumer Direct. They are all paid for by the tax payer and all act on behalf of the consumer.

    Depends what your definition of huge is. According to the Mirror they cost £6m per annum to run and have saved £85m in the last few months (£70m in the npower case, when ofgem got £6m; and £15m for ISA customers).

    Doesn't sound awful value for money to me!

    (http)://blogs.mirror.co.uk/money-questions/2010/10/condem-blow-for-consumers.html (sorry can't post links)
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