You may be familiar with the help the 22,000 Citizens Advice volunteer advisers provide on the phone, webchat, email, etc but did you know that behind the scenes we also campaign on your behalf?
In 2018 we made a formal complaint that savings interest rates keep falling and broadband, mobile, mortgage and insurance bills keep rising – unless you change supplier. Our research found consumers pay nearly £4 billion a year for their loyalty! The regulators have now agreed to take action. For instance, from January insurance companies will no longer offer cheaper rates to new motor and home insurance customers – saving existing customers £370m a year. (Did you know you could currently pay around £100 extra per year if you stay with the same insurance company for over 5 years?)
Our research into domestic abuse found that survivors frequently have their post intercepted by partners or other family members. As a result, they can miss important appointments or lose money – totalling around £700m per year. Also concerning is that 40% of survivors who left home found their new addresses were revealed by agencies to the perpetrator. We have put forward proposals for dealing with these issues.
In recent years payday lending, buy-now-pay-later and rent-to-own appliances have often involved unfair terms or resulted in consumers falling into serious debts. Citizens Advice campaigned for consumer protection and tighter controls against such unfair lending which led to tougher regulation of payday lenders.
Citizens Advice organises this annual campaign which seeks to spread knowledge of the various scams and frauds being perpetrated and how you can protect yourself against them. (Did you know that 18 to 55 year olds are much more likely to be victims of online scams than the elderly?).
We found that over half of consumers experience problems each year with parcel deliveries. Those with disabilities face particular difficulties – such as not answering the door quickly enough or being unable to retrieve parcels from where they have been left. So far 7 out of 10 delivery companies have agreed to implement proposals we have made for improvements.
After we highlighted problems, the Government decided to accept free phone calls, reduce the waiting time for payments and increase support available for childcare. (Did you know we now provide a “Help to Claim” service for Universal Credit?).
We helped secure measures to tackle rogue landlords, improve protections and redress for renters, and a ban on letting agent fees for tenants.