New scheme launches helping consumers to solve complaints in the retail sector

by Communications Team | Apr 29, 2015

From today a new scheme is launching online to help consumers resolve any on-going complaints they have with goods or services in the retail sector.


Ombudsman Services, the largest multi-sector ombudsman in the UK, is creating this service after recording a huge number of complaints in the retail sector. Research released in January, the Consumer Action Monitor, revealed that complaints in the retail sector reached a record high of 18.5 million this year, an increase of 42 per cent and far outstripping all other sectors.[i]

This growth in retail complaints is due to more people buying online, which is removing human interaction from many purchases and transactions, making minor problems and issues more likely. Social media also give consumers the opportunity to campaign directly if they have a problem with more than 20 million complaints made last year through social media like Facebook, Twitter and consumer forums.

An ombudsman provides independent and impartial decisions on complaints and is a cost-effective and fast way to resolve disputes which cannot be resolved directly with the company. An ombudsman weighs up evidence and makes a legally binding decision.

As the largest multi-sector ombudsman in the UK Ombudsman Services has helped over 1.3 million people with their complaints since it opened in 2003 and offers a free service to consumers which is easy to access and simple to use. For anyone with a complaint about goods or services within retail either bought on the high street or online can visit

Lewis Shand Smith, Chief Ombudsman, says: “We’ve built a great deal of expertise in understanding consumer complaints and how to resolve them which we believe we can offer to consumers with any issues with the retail sector. As our research shows complaints are at the highest ever level and this is an important time to ensure that consumers have somewhere to turn to. We believe this can only be a good thing; not just for consumers but forward thinking companies that value their brand and reputation.”

Here you can read our White Paper: The future of retail complaints.

[i] For the 2015 Consumer Action Monitor, Ombudsman Services commissioned ICM research to carry out a nationally representative survey of adults aged 18+. A total of 2,070 people were questioned throughout Great Britain (exc. Northern Ireland), with representative quotas for gender age, region, social grade, work status and tenure all accounted for. The research was conducted between 7 and 9 January 2015.