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Government-backed consumer rights campaign to focus on online retailing

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A major nationwide consumer rights campaign will launch later this year to highlight the benefits to both consumers and business of having a good knowledge of key consumer rights.

The Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) has joined forces with Consumer Focus, the OFT and Consumer Direct to launch the 'Know Your Consumer Rights' campaign.

The main campaign activity will get underway in Trading Standards' National Consumer Week, which runs from September 14-20, and will continue until March 2010.

"The initiative follows research conducted last year which highlighted that many consumers lacked confidence when shopping online," says the BIS. "Just 56% of consumers felt confident about returning or complaining about goods or services purchased over the internet, compared with 91% on the high street. The survey also found that there is a gulf between consumer confidence and the actual knowledge people have about their specific rights.

The campaign organisers intend to partner with high street and online retailers as well as national, regional and online media to educate consumers about their rights and raise awareness of Consumer Direct, the national consumer rights advice body. DIY retailer Wickes is the first retail partner to get on board.

The business-facing side of the campaign — 'Know Your Consumers' Rights' — will aim to promote the benefits to retailers of having well-informed customers and staff. The message the campaign seeks to convey will be that consumers who know their rights and are confident enough to use them are more likely to engage with shops and services and spend their money.

BIS, OFT and other partners will also be promoting free staff training tools that will be made available to businesses at www.businesslink.gov.uk/consumersrights.

• Readers interested in getting involved with the campaign should contact Robin Shelly of Billington Cartmel on 0207 471 1900.
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