New Scottish consumer body to launch next year
Legislation to establish a new consumer organisation has been unanimously passed by the Scottish Parliament.
Consumer Scotland – a new body dedicated to protecting the interests of consumers – is expected to be operational next year.
Working alongside existing consumer organisations and Trading Standards Scotland, it will focus on campaigning on issues that particularly affect people in Scotland and will conduct in-depth investigations to identify and address underlying causes of harm.
Business minister Jamie Hepburn said: “Consumer Scotland will be a champion for everyone across Scotland, dedicated to investigating consumer harm and developing solutions to tackle it.
“The majority of our experiences when buying goods and services are positive, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes there are persistent problems that have a big impact – such as delivery charges in rural Scotland or a lack of access to cash machines – that need to be addressed.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on how we shop as well as the availability of goods and services, highlighting the importance of a powerful advocacy voice for consumers.
“In passing this Bill today, the Scottish Parliament has helped ensure that a fairer Scotland means fairer outcomes for consumers.”
Citizens Advice Scotland chief executive, Derek Mitchell, said the charity looks forward to working in partnership with the new body to “help deliver world-class outcomes for consumers”.
He added: “Consumers are vital for a strong, sustainable and inclusive economy. Through their choices, they can encourage businesses to be ethical, efficient and innovative.
“The support offered by the Citizens Advice network to people across Scotland gives them an unparalleled insight into the lived experiences of those who are often most vulnerable, to that end we are in an unequalled position to continue to identify and highlight harm to consumers in Scotland.
“With the establishment of this new body working alongside the Citizens Advice network, Scotland can have the best of both worlds on consumer policy – data-driven intelligence and understanding based on the lived experiences of people.”