In April 2012 the Consumer Direct phone, email, and web advice service (previously run by the OFT) was replaced by the Citizens Advice consumer service. The helpline gives advice on a wide variety of consumer issues, ranging from advice on your rights when you buy online to how to make sure you're getting the best deal on your energy.
As with Consumer Direct in the past, we take up to 7,000 calls and emails per day and have kept the same contact numbers to provide continuity for callers. In addition our web information for consumers is now richer and easier to use.
The consumer service is successful in terms of both the number of contacts and customer satisfaction. By the end of January 2013, the GB-wide service had reached one million contacts (phone calls and website visits). Over 150,000 of these were through the Scottish arm of the Citizens Advice consumer service which is run, on behalf of Citizens Advice Scotland, by Citizens Advice Direct through its centre in Stornoway. The helpline deals with around 48,000 calls originating in Scotland. Client satisfaction figures for the service showed that 98% of clients were satisfied with the overall service received and would use the service again.
The new consumer service continues to develop partnerships already in place and enable links into the wider Citizens Advice Service with its trusted brand and local presence and builds on the excellent work of OFT in running Consumer Direct.
The addition of the helpline to the Scottish CAB Service means that we have even more evidence of the issues faced by citizens in Scotland. This allows us to analyse trends in consumer problems and enquiries, for example around energy isues or mobile phones, and to undertake more detailed analysis of specific issues such as doorstep sales. You can see our Snapshot of consumer issues for April-September 2012 here and our recent briefing on doorstep sales here.
For more information on how we use the data from the Citizens Advice consumer service or to talk to us about how we can work with your organisation, please get in touch with email@example.com.
How to access the Citizens Advice consumer service
To use the Citizens Advice consumer service call 08454 040506 or visit www.adviceguide.org.uk.
The service is available from 9.00am to 5.00pm from Monday to Friday for people in Scotland and across Great Britain.