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Millions of people take time off work to deal with faulty goods

Written by: Paloma Kubiak
A charity said the “odds are stacked against consumers” as it reveals more than three million people have taken time off work to resolve a problem with goods or services.

Poor services or faulty goods have blighted the lives, finances or health of 14 million people, according to Citizens Advice.

Further, its research revealed this number includes 3.2 million people who have had to take time off work to resolve a problem with goods and services. As a result, consumer problems cost the UK economy £23bn a year.

Its survey of 5,000 people found that when dealing with complaints, 59% paid additional costs, 37% felt worried or anxious and 12% suffered damage to their home or property.

Further, 17% had to take time out of work, a fifth had to send emails or take calls during working hours and a quarter spent over a month trying to sort out their problem.

As such, the charity is calling on the government to make it easier for consumers to resolve a problem by mandating a better complaints procedure and non-court based solutions.

When people face problems with a used car or home renovations, often the only way of seeking financial compensation is through costly small claims courts.

Citizens Advice is calling on the government to make Alternative Dispute Resolutions mandatory across all markets when things go wrong in unregulated markets.

Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said: “We know consumer problems can be costly, but our research shows that they can also have a serious impact on people’s lives. Whether a faulty second hand car, lack of broadband service or a botched home renovation, these problems can spiral out of control and people are often left to deal with them on their own.

“This is another example of how the odds are stacked against consumers in favour of big business. The government should use its upcoming Consumer Green Paper to strengthen the voice of consumers and make it easier for them to seek compensation without having to go to court.”

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