The NCF is an association of individual consumers, representatives from consumer groups, and experts, who work together to make things better for consumers.
We work at policy level, and do not have the resources to deal with individual complaints. Organisations such as Citizens’ Advice and Trading Standards exist to offer help and advice on specific cases.
As consumer representatives we need to ensure that consumer interests are not confused with those of business or other influences. We aim to bridge what is sometimes seen as a divide between providers and consumers, pointing out what works well for consumers, what could be improved, offering potential solutions and advice on how best to protect consumers.
Creating Fairer Regulation
Regulators such as Ofcom (for communications such as mobile phone services) and Ofgem (for energy, such as gas and electricity) exist to protect consumers in imperfect markets. But the understanding and interpretation of consumer issues across the recognised regulators is unclear and inconsistent. Evidence suggests that businesses focus so much attention on the regulators’ requirements, that this limits their ability to provide flexible services that meet genuine consumer needs. This can lead to failure in fully addressing consumer disadvantage, discrimination and detriment.
The NCF supports the aims of ‘better regulation’, provided there is an effective legislative framework within which business and consumer needs are properly recognised and balanced.
Through Consumer Congress we have worked with other key members of the consumer movement to establish a Consumer Charter for Regulators This is gradually being recognised, both nationally and internationally.