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New retail ombudsman service launched

A new retail watchdog has been set up to resolve consumer complaints between retailers and shoppers.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

New retail ombudsman service launched

The service aims to help those consumers who have made a complaint to a company and the issue has not been resolved.

Overseen by an independent board and chaired by Sir Eric Peacock, the service will be voluntary for retailers to join. Retailers listed on The Retail Ombudsman website include Debenhams, Mothercare, Halfords, Argos, Wilkinson and Boots.

Companies which join the service will be charged up to £2,000 a year and £45 for each case that the ombudsman takes on.

On The Retail Ombudsman website it states that the service may also be able to help shoppers even when retailers are not members.

Barrister Dean Dunham, who will begin working with the ombudsman on 1 January, said shoppers who could not afford a lawyer now have the option of using the ombudsman service instead.

He told the BBC: “In this day and age, with shopping online as well as the high street, there are millions of complaints. A large proportion get resolved, but a large proportion don't.

"Those people are frustrated and they don't know where to turn and can't afford a lawyer. Now they can turn to the ombudsman."

On its website The Retail Ombudsman said: “By dealing with a member of The Retail Ombudsman, the public may be confident about the retailer’s practice and procedures, including the way in which it addresses customer complaints.” 

Companies joining the scheme have agreed to follow a Code of Practice and can be recognised through the TRO logo.

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