If you are concerned that a company is acting fraudulently or criminally, you can contact your local police or local trading standards office or you can contact Action Fraud.
www.tradingstandards.gov.uk ; www.actionfraud.org.uk.
Advertising Standards Authority (ASA)
The ASA is the UK’s independent regulator of advertising across all media, including, marketing on websites. The ASA works to ensure ads are legal, decent, honest and truthful by applying the Advertising Codes. The types of complaints they can look into include: misleading, harmful or offensive advertisements;
difficulty getting goods or a refund for items bought by mail order or through television shopping channels; promotions that are unfairly run or special offers that have left you disappointed; unwanted mail from companies sent either by post, e-mail, text message or fax; data capture and protection of privacy. www.asa.org.uk
Citizens Advice Consumer Service
The Citizens Advice consumer service (launched on 2 April 2012) provides free, confidential and impartial advice on consumer issues. Visit www.adviceguide.org.uk or call the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 08454 04 05 06 (Welsh language service: 08454 04 05 05).
This service replaces Consumer Direct as part of the Government’s plans announced in Empowering and protecting consumers (June 2011) to simplify the ‘bewildering array of public, private and voluntary bodies, which often duplicate efforts to inform, educate and advise consumers of their rights.’
Consumer Focus (formerly The National Consumer Council)
Formally starting work on October 1st2008, Consumer Focus has been formed through a merger of the National Consumer Council, energywatch and Postwatch. Consumer Focus promotes the interests of consumers through research, supporting consumer representatives and working with decision-makers to campaign for change. Consumer Focus has no statutory powers and does not give advice, nor does it intervene in individual cases or consumer complaints against providers of goods and services.www.consumerfocus.org.uk
Department for Business Innovation and Skills
BIS helps ensure business success and is the voice for business across the Government.www.bis.gov.uk
Direct Marketing Association (DMA)
The Direct Marketing Association UK is the trade body for the direct marketing industry. The DMA manages programmes to protect consumers against bad practice and increase consumer trust in the industry. It promotes best practice through DMA codes of conduct and provides up-to-the-minute information, research and legal advice. www.dma.org.uk
Financial Ombudsman Service
The FOS can look at complaints about a wide range of financial matters – from insurance and mortgages to investments and credit. Every year they deal with a million enquiries and settle over 150,000 disputes. www.financial-ombusdman.org.uk.
Financial Services Authority
All UK firms conducting financial services businesses in the UK must by law register with the Financial Services Authority (FSA). For example, if you are not happy about the credentials of the man who came round to sell you some cover on your household appliances, if you have the name of the firm and the postcode, you can check online that the firm is authorised for insurance products. www.fsa.gov.uk.
Fundraising Standards Board
The Fundraising Standards Board is a self-regulatory scheme which works to ensure that organisations raising money from the public do so honestly and properly. www.fsrb.org.uk
An independent and free online complaints service. www.howtocomplain.com
Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO)
The ICO is the UK’s independent public body which enforces the regulations relating to telephone, fax, e-mail and SMS marketing. It was set up to promote access to official information and protect personal information.www.ico.gov.uk
Ofcom is the independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries, with responsibilities across television, radio, telecommunications and wireless communications services. www.ofcom.org.uk
Office of Fair Trading (OFT)
The OFT is responsible for making markets work well for consumers by promoting and protecting consumer interests while ensuring that businesses are fair and competitive. www.oft.gov.uk
Otelo are an Ombudsman Service that resolves disagreements between public communications providers and their customers. It is a free and independent service which investigates complaints fairly by listening to both sides of the story and looking at the facts. www.otelo.org.uk
PhonepayPlus is the industry regulator for premium rate phone services that are charged to users’ phone bills or pre-pay accounts. For example, competitions, TV voting, helplines, adult entertainment, downloads, news alerts or interactive games. www.phonepayplus.org.uk
Telephone Preference Service
Fax Preference Service
Mailing Preference Service
The Preference Services allow individuals to register their preference to reduce personally addressed unsolicited marketing mailing, telephone calls and faxes.www.mpsonline.org.uk; www.tpsonline.org.uk; www.fpsonline.org.uk
Email Preference Service (eMPS) – Registration with the eMPS can help reduce marketing emails from members of the DMA and some other marketing organisations. It is a free service which lasts for 5 years. www.dmachoice.org/EMPS/
Baby Mailing Preference Service (BMPS) – Baby MPS is a free service which allows you to register not to receive baby related mailings. www.mpsonline.org.uk/bmpsr
Press Complaints Commission
If you’re concerned about the content of an article in a newspaper or magazine (whether you see it in their print or online editions), then the Press Complaints Commission is the place to contact. The PCC is the independent organisation monitoring British newspapers and magazines to ensure they adhere to ethical guidelines. They deal with issues such as inaccuracy and privacy. www.pcc.org.uk
Safe Home Ordering Protection Scheme (SHOPS)
SHOPS protects consumers when buying directly from advertisements and catalogues inserted in national newspapers. SHOPS safeguards readers by reimbursing them should they lose money if the goods which have been ordered fail to be delivered as a result of an advertiser going into liquidation or bankruptcy or ceasing to trade. It also covers readers who have returned goods and not received a refund from a failed advertiser. www.shops-uk.org.uk
Local Trading Standards Departments can investigate complaints about scams and dishonest traders operating in their areas of responsibility. Their telephone number can be found in the phone book under ‘Local Authority’. Complaints should be directed to the ‘Home Authority’ of the company in question i.e., their local TSD. www.tradingstandards.gov.uk
Many local and national organisations communicate information to people using unaddressed mail and door to door material delivered directly to their homes. The ‘Your Choice’ scheme informs distribution companies of the householder’s preference to stop the delivery of these items. For example, free newspapers, catalogues, advertising brochures and money-off coupons. http://www.mpsonline.org.uk/mpsr/yourchoice/