Consumer groups have been around for a great many years. After the Consumers’ Association, publishers of Which? started up its national operation in 1959, they sponsored the development of local consumer groups, starting in 1963. The National Federation of Consumer Groups (NFCG) proved to be very successful initially, with a total of nearly 100 local groups, but shrank over the years, to be succeeded by the National Consumer Federation (NCF) in 2001.
This article, which is based on interviews with early participants, documentation from consumer group journals and press releases, offers an interesting overview of the development and changes the local consumer movement has undergone over the last 60 years.
What Did They Do?
Author Monica Shelley writes ‘Groups have nagged and publicised, surveyed and commented and ferreted into the dark corners of commerce and public service. They have taken the cause of the consumer visibly into the local public arena, publicising their activities through inventively designed local consumer weeks and through effective use of local media… [winning] local victories of a kind that rarely hit the headlines of the nation’s newspapers but which have improved the quality of, and reduced the irritations in the lives of ordinary people.‘
These are all still worth doing even if the times and the technologies have changed the way people get together to fight their battles.