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Advice for Consumers

STOP PRESS:

The laws on Distance Selling and Doorstep Selling were updated on 13th June 2014 - extending the cooling off period from 7 to 14 days. 

Who Can Give Me Advice?

On 2nd April 2012 Citizens Advice consumer service  (Citizens Advice CS) took over the national consumer advice service from Consumer Direct.  The contact number and service provision will remain the same.

Citizens Advice CS is the first point of contact for all Poole residents seeking consumer advice.   They work in partnership with our Trading Standards Service.

If you wish to seek advice, or make a complaint about:

  • goods or services that you have bought 

  • a scam

  • a company that you believe is trading unfairly 

Please contact Citizens Advice CS on  03454 04 05 06 (lines open 9am to to 5pm, Monday to Friday).  

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Working in Partnership with Citizens Advice CS 

Citizens Advice CS work in partnership with us and liaise closely with our Trading Standards Service. 

They may refer some Poole residents to us for further advice, e.g. where:

  • a consumer may be considered to be vulnerable, or

  • where the law is complex. 

If you contact Citizens Advice CS, and your case is referred, we may contact you by telephone, e-mail, or letter, depending on the situation.

All other consumer advice is offered on a self-help basis. 

Citizens Advice CS can:

  • advise you which law covers your contract and how this affects your legal rights.
  • supply you with sample letters on which you can base your own to a trader with whom you have a dispute.
  • inform our enforcement team where there appears to be a breach of criminal law such as false or misleading descriptions or prices.

If there are criminal breaches of law that we can investigate, you will still need to pursue your own civil claim. This is because criminal and civil laws in the UK work independently. This means that we cannot take a trader to court on your behalf. We can only take traders to task for criminal breaches of law which affect the community as a whole.

If you need to contact Citizens Advice CS have all your paperwork with you, that is relevant to the issue that you are enquiring about.

  • keep all original documents and items in a safe place in case they are needed in the future.

For details on how to avoid being scammed see bottom of page, and look at the latest Trading Standards Alerts

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Who can give me advice on other matters such as benefits or debt?

You can contact Poole Citizens Advice Bureau, or you may find the information you need at www.adviceguide.org.uk 

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Self-help Consumer Guidance

There are some excellent websites providing consumer guidance in the form of factsheets on a wide variety of subjects from buying a used car to a double glazing installation:

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Buy With Confidence

Buy With Confidence  is an approved trader scheme supported by the Borough of Poole to help you find reliable and trustworthy tradespeople to make improvements and repairs to your home.

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Shopping in Europe

European Consumer Centres may be able to give you advice and information on your rights as a consumer in the European Union, and help you to solve problems with goods and services that you may have bought there.

Try using 'Howard' - an ‘Online Shopping Assistant’ , that will be able to provide you with the information that you need to make a qualified decision whether to use a certain website or not. Howard will research a particular website for you, just enter the websites name, and Howard will find the information about that site.

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Get Scam Wise!

Don’t get caught our by scams or sharp practice.

Download or print off your own copy of our Get Scam Wise leaflets:

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Scam Awareness in British Sign Language 

A film called 'Watch Out! Scam Awareness' has been  created to warn the deaf community to be on their guard against fraudsters who may try to contact them via the internet.  The film contains a series of crime prevention messages delivered in British Sign Language, along with sub-titles and voice-overs. It was created after police became aware of the fact that the deaf community are deliberately being targeted by online fraudsters, often through social networking sites, and are being conned into handing over their savings.   The film is available to watch on YouTube and can be reached via a link on the Action Fraud website at http://tinyurl.com/co847hl

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From whom can I seek advice on Energy Saving and Grants?

Dorset Energy Advice Centre provide advice and information on:

  • the availability of grants for house insulation, heating, and renewables; and
  • give free and impartial advice on energy saving.

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Downloads

Contact us

Email
environment@poole.gov.uk

Telephone
01202 261700

Text Relay
18001 01202 261700

Address
Environmental and Consumer Protection
Unit 1
Newfields Business Park
2 Stinsford Road
Poole
BH17 0NF