Trading Standards

Business, Innovation and Skills written question – answered on 7th March 2012.

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Photo of Gareth Thomas Gareth Thomas Shadow Minister (Cabinet Office), Party Chair, Co-operative Party

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent estimate he has made of the number of problems for consumers arising from faulty goods and services purchased within the last 12 months; what assessment he has made of the total consumer detriment arising from faulty goods and services; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Norman Lamb Norman Lamb The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills

Between 1 March 2011 and 29 February 2012, 255,000 consumers contacted Consumer Direct about faulty goods and services, which represents 28% of all consumer problems reported to them. Based on the reported value of these faulty goods or services, Consumer Direct estimate the total value of the goods and services involved at around £344 million, but this value is not necessarily the same as the actual losses suffered or the detriment caused. However, it is difficult to estimate with any certainty the total number of problems arising from faulty goods and services and any consequent consumer detriment if the problems are not satisfactorily resolved because most issues do not result in any formal complaint.

Consumer detriment is particularly difficult to define and measure. However, in 2008 the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) estimated that one type of detriment—that suffered by consumers post-transaction—amounted to £6.6 billion per annum arising out of an estimated 26.5 million cases of consumer mistreatment.

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