NCF has looked at how the internet has changed our approach to trust and the way we now make choices.
We started work on this by looking at ‘what good looks like’ Link from the consumer’s point of view. This paper analysed the issues arising from current practices where trust schemes use customer feedback. We have identified five key elements needed to support and maintain consumer trust in a trust scheme:
- Creation and maintenance of a detailed code of practice for the operator of the scheme and those participating
- Monitoring and assessment against the code
- Complaints handling and escalation process available to consumers using the scheme
- Consumer feedback and choice systems
- Regular assessment of the trust scheme against the four preceding elements on behalf of consumers by the consumer movement.
Creating fairer regulation
The NCF has taken up the issue of fair and consistent consumer 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. There is some evidence that businesses may pay more attention to the regulators’ requirements relevant to their business without the flexibility to meet true consumer needs. This can mean 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.