Did You Know There is a Retail Ombudsman?

At some point in time most of us have had the unfortunate experience of buying a new product (online or in the shops) only to discover that it is damaged or broken, or a fault develops after a while.

Many retailers are very good about repairing or replacing goods but there are also plenty of cases where consumers have the frustrating experience of getting the brush-off from customer services or being told that it is out of warranty, or the retailer tries to shift the responsibility to the manufacturer.

Now help is at hand with the new Retail Ombudsman service, which aims to help consumers resolve disputes with retailers.  This BBC News clip introduces the service & chief ombudsman Dean Dunham.  As with any ombudsman service here is the procedure to follow:

  • First contact the retailer with your complaint.  Responsible retailers will be happy to help, making it unnecessary to involve the ombudsman.  If you need help with starting your complaint, the Retail Ombudsman website has a section to help you with this.
  • If you are unhappy with the retailer’s response or they fail to reply within 8 weeks, contact the Retail Ombudsman for help.

You should, however, note that the Retail Ombudsman has no statutory powers at the present time and can only negotiate on your behalf.  Trading Standards and Citizens Advice can also help you resolve disputes with retailers.