A champion for consumers

In April 2014 the Government gave Citizens Advice Scotland and our sister organisation in England and Wales, Citizens Advice, a bigger role in speaking up for people on post, water and energy. Citizens Advice Scotland also took on responsibility for running a helpline for people with complex energy or post complaints or who are at risk of having their energy cut off, called the Citizens Advice Service Extra Help Unit.

The changes were the last in a series of UK Government reforms which have seen us grow into a one-stop shop for consumer advice by phone, email, online or face to face, and a champion for consumers across all issues.

In 2013 we were given more powers and funding to stand up for people on general consumer issues like payday loans and used cars. And in 2012 we took on responsibility for an advice service for people with consumer problems, called the Citizens Advice Consumer Service. It offers advice over the phone on 03454 04 05 06, and by email via our self-help website www.citizensadvice.org.uk/scotland.

Why the Citizens Advice Service?

We’ve been helping people with consumer issues for years. Consumer issues cover goods or services that you have to pay for or that are provided publicly. That means everything from energy bills to payday loans, used cars and access to the internet.

We look at the problems people bring to our advice services to campaign for change where it’s needed most – so when we speak up for people, it’s on the issues that matter to them.

Bringing consumer advice, campaigning and representation together under one roof means people know where to turn and get a more effective champion for their needs.

Independent research shows the work of the Scottish Citizens Advice Service contributes more than £166 million to the common good in Scotland. We’re looking forward to being able to do even more, together with Consumer Futures, to empower people to solve their problems and save Scotland money.

Doing more to help

We’ll keep on helping people whatever problem they come to us with – whether it’s consumer issues about goods or services, or benefits, housing or employment problems.

And we’ll keep on speaking out for people across all the issues we currently campaign on – such as making sure welfare reform doesn’t leave people high and dry.

But alongside this we now have even more powers and funding to champion consumers’ rights and make sure those in power hear their voice.

We help people with more consumer issues than ever before through our dedicated consumer service and self-help wbsite www.citizensadvice.org.uk/scotland.

And delivering the Citizens Advice Consumer Service and the Citizens Advice Service Extra Help Unit means we have more frontline evidence than ever of the problems people face in their everyday lives. We put this to use analysing issues and trends so we can campaign for change on the issues that really matter, like payday loans, energy bills, scams and used cars.

If you’d like to talk to someone about our work on consumer issues or how we could work with your organisation, please contact Sarah Beattie-Smith, Acting Consumer Futures Scotland Manager, on sarah.beattie-smith@cas.org.uk.