Prime Minister May must restore trust to deliver a better deal for consumers

As new Which? research shows more than half of households think the economy will get worse in the next year, we call on the new Prime Minister to restore trust in markets​ to deliver a better deal for consumers.  

New Which? research shows that consumer trust in essential markets to act in their best interest has declined by an average of 12% over the last year. In addition, over half of households (53%) think the economy will get worse in the coming 12 months – more than double the figure (25%) just over a year ago.

Which? is calling on the new Prime Minister ​to give people more power to ​get a better deal and ​resolve the problems they face in their everyday lives​, by:

Ensuring that Brexit delivers for consumers: With our research finding many people concerned about the economy since the decision to leave the EU, the Prime Minister must make sure that the vital Brexit negotiations deliver a fair deal for consumers both financially and ​in terms of strengthening important consumer rights. Significant consumer benefits and protections, like cheaper data roaming abroad or flight delay compensation, must be maintained.

Restoring trust and boosting competition: ​The Prime Minister ​has fired the opening shot on tackling vested interests in highly consolidated markets and we would urge her to continue with this agenda​. Reforms in ​key markets with abysmal levels of consumer trust, including banking​, energy and rail, must be pushed forward to ​ensure competition delivers ​better outcomes for consumers​.

Giving consumers a stronger voice: Whether in the boardroom, within Government or with the regulators, the Prime Minister has already indicated she is keen to ensure consumers’ voices are heard at the highest levels. In critical markets, a clear signal must be sent to businesses to genuinely engage with and listen to their customers, ​to​ treat their customers fairly and deliver improvements to their services.

Putting things right when they go wrong: With millions facing poor service in sectors such as telecoms, energy and rail, Government and regulators ​must ​make it easier ​for the consumer ​to​ force businesses to put things right when markets ​fail to deliver. ​It should be made easier for people to complain and in certain sectors automatic​, fixed compensation must be rapidly introduced to ​help restore consumer trust and confidence.

Peter Vicary-Smith, Which? Chief Executive, said:

“People are ​understandably ​​worried about the future and ​fed up with getting a raw deal in many sectors. ​A strong economy requires consumer confidence, therefore it is vital that steps are taken to restore trust in key markets, including banking, energy and travel.

“The Prime Minister and her new government must seize this opportunity to give people more power to ​get a better deal and resolve the problems they face.”

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Notes to Editors

1.    Personal and economic expectations measured by the Which? Consumer Insight Tracker from 6-7th July 2016 compared to May 2015. Populus on behalf of Which? surveyed a representative sample of around 2,000 UK adults. Populus is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

2.    The Which? Consumer Insight Tracker asks survey participants to what extent they would trust the following industries to act in their best interest: Day-to-day banking; Longer-term financial products; Food/grocery sector; Domestic appliances; Technology appliances; Broadband/home phone services; Mobile phone services; Gas and electricity; Water (supplied to your home); Trade services; Train travel; Airlines / holiday operators; and Car dealers.

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