Consumers

Useful Contacts

If you need advice or wish to report a consumer issue, in most instances you should contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040506, or via this Online Contact Form.

We have listed below some other useful organisations who may be able to help:

Local Government Contacts (district councils handle many licensing duties):

Name Telephone Number Website
Devon County Council 0345 1551015 www.devon.gov.uk
Somerset County Council 0845 345 9166 www.somerset.gov.uk
East Devon District Council 01395 265702 www.eastdevon.gov.uk
Exeter City Council 01392 277888 www.exeter.gov.uk
Mid Devon District Council 01884 255255 www.middevon.gov.uk
Mendip District Council 0300 3038588 www.mendip.gov.uk
North Devon District Council 01271 327711 www.northdevon.gov.uk
Sedgemoor District Council 0845 4082540 www.sedgemoor.gov.uk
South Hams District Council 01803 861234 www.southhams.gov.uk
South Somerset District Council 01935 462462 www.southsomerset.gov.uk
Taunton Deane Borough Council 01823 356356 www.tauntondeane.gov.uk
Teignbridge District Council 01626 361101 www.teignbridge.gov.uk
Torridge District Council 01237 428991 www.torridge.gov.uk
West Devon District Council 01822 813600 www.westdevon.gov.uk
West Somerset District Council 01643 703704 www.westsomersetonline.gov.uk


Ombudsmen & Complaints Bodies

The following organisations deal with complaints about various different trades and services. Please note, many companies and trade bodies have dispute resolution schemes they are part of that you may be expected to go through before you can approach an umbrella body. You should ask a company whether they have a dispute service first before taking things further (unless it is particularly serious or involves criminal behaviour). Always make sure you know the limitations of any dispute resolution scheme before you go agree to take part in it, as some may not be able to award compensation, while others are mainly about dealing with infractions on legislation.

Name Website
Adjudicator’s Office www.adjudicatorsoffice.gov.uk
Investigates complaints from people and businesses about how HM Revenue and Customs, Valuation Office Agency or the Insolvency service have handled their affairs.
Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) www.asa.org.uk
Applies the advertising codes and also deals with complaints about advertisements from members of the public.
Charity Commission www.charitycommission.gov.uk
Investigates complaints about possible illegal activity by charities, those claiming to be a charity or who say they are working for one.
Citizens Advice Bureau www.citizensadvice.org.uk/index/getadvice.htm
Your local Citizens Advice Bureau may be able to help settle disputes between consumers and businesses, including helping those who need aid writing complaint letters. Find your local bureau by following the link above.
CISAS www.cisas.org.uk
The Communications and Internet Services Adjudication Scheme deals with complaints about member companies in the communications and Internet industry. If your provider does not belong to CISAS, they may belong to Ombudsman Services: Communications (see below).
Complaints Commissioner to the Bar Standards Board www.barstandardsboard.org.uk
Investigates complaints about barristers.
Consumer Council for Water www.ccwater.org.uk
Can look into complaints about water companies
Environment Agency www.environment-agency.gov.uk
Looks into complaints about pollution.
General Dental Council www.gdc-uk.org
Regulator of dentists, can also investigate complaints
General Medical Council www.gmc-uk.org
Regulator of doctors, can also investigate complaints
General Optical Council www.optical.org
Regulator of opticians, can also investigate complaints
Financial Ombudsman Service www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk/
Covers most areas of personal finance and banking. Consumers can use this service for serious or on-going disputes with businesses who are regulated by the FCA or which have a consumer-credit licence.
Furniture Ombudsman www.thefurnitureombudsman.org
The independent standards body for furniture and floorcoverings. It can handle disputes between consumers and member furniture manufacturers and retailers.
Glazing Ombudsman www.glazingombudsman.com
Deals with disputes between consumers and member companies (installers) of glazing, conservatories and roofline products.
Housing Ombudsman Service www.housing-ombudsman.org.uk
Deals with complaints from people who receive a direct service from registered social landlords in England, and certain other landlords who are members of the scheme, including bodies who take over the management of homes transferred from local authorities. Some private landlords are also members.
Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education www.oiahe.org.uk
Reviews decisions made by higher education institutions (HEIs) in relation to students. Students must first exhaust the HEI’s internal complaints procedures.
Independent Case Examiner www.ind-case-exam.org.uk
Acts as an independent referee for people who feel that certain Government Agencies or Businesses have not treated them fairly or have not dealt with complaints in a satisfactory manner.
Independent Complaints Mediator for the Criminal Records Bureau www.gov.uk/government/organisations/disclosure-and-barring-service
Investigates complaints about all the activities of the Criminal Records Bureau relating to mistakes, delays, staff behaviour and administrative errors.
Independent Complaints Reviewer www.icrev.org.uk
Investigates complaints about the Land Registry, the National Archives, the Northern Ireland Youth Justice Agency and the Children’s Commissioner for Wales.
Independent Police Complaints Commission www.ipcc.gov.uk
Deals with complaints and allegations of inappropriate or illegal behaviour by the police, and can handle issues brought to them by the public who feel badly treated by the police.
Information Commissioner www.ico.org.uk
The ICO enforces and oversees the Freedom of Information Act, the Environmental Information Regulations, the Data Protection Act and the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations. Can handle complaints in regards to these laws.
Judicial Appointments & Conduct Ombudsman www.justice.gov.uk/about/jaco
Investigates complaints about the judicial appointments process and the handling of matters involving judicial discipline or conduct.
Legal Ombudsman www.legalombudsman.org.uk
Deals with service complaints about lawyers, solicitors, and barristers.
Local Government Ombudsman www.lgo.org.uk
Looks at complaints about councils and some other authorities, including education admissions appeal panels and adult social care providers.
MHRA www.mhra.gov.uk
Looks into complaints about medicines & medical devices
OFCOM www.ofcom.org.uk
Regulator of telephone & television companies. Deals with complaints about inappropriate content and breaches of broadcasting and communications legislation.
Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) oisc.homeoffice.gov.uk
Accepts complaints about persons who have given immigration advice and/or services and has a criminal law enforcement function with regard to those persons.
Ombudsman Services: Communications www.ombudsman-services.org
Considers complaints about communications companies (phone, mobile and broadband) that participate in the scheme. If your provider does not belong to Ombudsman Services: Communications, they may belong to CISAS (see above).
Ombudsman Services: Energy www.ombudsman-services.org
Considers complaints from consumers and small businesses about energy companies (suppliers and networks).
Ombudsman Services: Property www.ombudsman-services.org
Considers complaints from consumers about property companies (surveyors, estate/letting/managing agents and valuers) that participate in the scheme.
Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman www.ombudsman.org.uk
Independently investigates complaints about unfair or improper actions or poor services by UK government departments and their agencies in the UK, and the NHS in England.
Pensions Ombudsman www.pensions-ombudsman.org.uk
Considers complaints in relation to pension schemes. Complainants should first seek the help of The Pensions Advisory Service on 0845 6012923.
POSTRS www.postrs.org.uk
Set up to resolve disputes between regulated postal operators (such as the Royal Mail) and their customers.
Prisons and Probation Ombudsman www.ppo.gov.uk
Considers complaints from prisoners about their treatment in jail.
Property Ombudsman www.tpos.co.uk
Scheme deals with complaints against estate agents, lettings agents, commercial property agents, residential leasehold management agents, international property agents and valuers and auctioneers who are members of the scheme.
Removals Industry Ombudsman Scheme www.removalsombudsman.co.uk
Handles complaints about companies who are members of the National Guild of Removers and Storers. Only available after conciliation by the trade association has been exhausted.
RICS www.rics.org
Handles complaints about Chartered Surveyors.
Service Complaints Commissioner for the Armed Forces armedforcescomplaints.independent.gov.uk
Acts as a ‘watchdog’ for the Armed Forces Service complaints system. Also an independent point of contact for Service men and women who have a complaint.
Tenancy Deposit Disputes www.gov.uk
All landlords who have tenants on Assured Shorthold Tenancies must legally place tenancy deposits in one of the following approved deposit schemes. If a dispute arises between you and a landlord over a deposit (such as how much you should get back), you can approach the scheme that holds your cash, who should be able to help with resolution. Ensure you know which scheme your landlord/agency is using before you sign the lease, as they are no longer permitted to hold it in their own accounts.

Waterways Ombudsman www.waterways-ombudsman.org
Considers complaints against British Waterways, once its internal complaints procedure has been completed.


Other Useful Contacts:

Name Telephone Number Website Description
Age Concern 0800 00 99 66 www.ageuk.org.uk Provides advice for older people
British Standards Institution 020 8996 9001 www.bsigroup.com Produces British Standards
Care Direct (Devon) 0845 155 1007 https://new.devon.gov.uk/adultsocialcareandhealth/ Provides advice for older people
Citizens Advice Consumer Service 03454040506 CAB Advice Guide Provides advice on many topics
Companies House 0303 1234 500 www.companieshouse.gov.uk Registrar of limited companies – you can use companies house to check the status of a limited company.
Local Courts 01271 372252 courttribunalfinder.service.gov.uk/
www.justice.gov.uk/about/hmcts/
Use the links to find your nearest court and information about instigating small claims court action
Devon & Cornwall Police 101 (non-emergency line) www.devon-cornwall.police.uk Enforces criminal law
Avon & Somerset Constbulary 101 (non-emergency line) www.avonandsomerset.police.uk Enforces criminal law
Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Services 01392 872200 (non-emergency line) www.dsfire.gov.uk Fire safety enquiries
GOV.UK www.gov.uk Central resource for information about most government departments & schemes
Local Environmental Health Office 01395 517457 http://www.food.gov.uk (find your nearest environmental health office by following the link) Enforces environmental health legislation, hygiene standards & noise pollution
Equality and Human Rights Commission 0845 604 6610 www.equalityhumanrights.com Provides advice on discrimination law
European Consumer Centre 08456 04 05 03 www.ukecc.net Consumer legal advice on problems in other EU member states
Gambling Commission 0121 230 6666 www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk Regulator of gambling businesses
Gas Safe Register 0800 408 5500 www.gassaferegister.co.uk Registrar of qualified gas fitters
Health & Safety Executive 0845 345 0055 www.hse.gov.uk Regulator of health & safety in the workplace
Insolvency Service (Exeter – Covers Devon except Plymouth) 01392 889 650 Insolvency Service Regulator of bankruptcy & liquidation – If you are concerned about the practices of a liquidating company a complaint can be made to the Insolvency service
Insolvency Service (Bristol – Covers Somerset) 0117 9279515 Insolvency Service Regulator of bankruptcy & liquidation
Mail Preference Services 0845 703 4599 www.mpsonline.org.uk To have your name removed from direct mailing lists
Money Claim Online www.moneyclaim.gov.uk Putting in civil claims online
National Debtline 0808 8084000 www.nationaldebtline.co.uk Provides advice on debt related issues
OFCOM 020 7981 3040 www.ofcom.org.uk Regulator of telephone & television companies
Passenger Focus 0300 123 2350 www.passengerfocus.org.uk Independent watchdog for rail passengers
Phone Pay Plus 0800 500 212 www.phonepayplus.org.uk Regulator of premium rate phone services
Royal Pharmaceutical Society 020 7735 9141 www.rpharms.com Regulator of pharmacists
RSPCA 0300 1234 555 www.rspca.org.uk Investigates cases of animal cruelty in relation to domestic animals
Shelter 0808 800 4444 england.shelter.org.uk/ Provides housing advice
South West Illegal Moneylending Team 0300 5552222 www.gov.uk/report-loan-shark For reporting loan sharks
Telephone Preference Service 0845 070 0707 www.mpsonline.org.uk/tps/ To register that you do not want to receive telephone sales calls
Chartered Trading Standards Institute www.tradingstandards.uk Provides information about the work of the Trading Standards services
Trust Online 020 7380 0133 www.trustonline.org.uk Register of County Court Judgements
Victim Support 0845 30 30 900 www.victimsupport.org.uk Support for victims of crime
VOSA 01392 279564 www.dft.gov.uk/vosa/ Regulator of MOT garages