Robert Halfon backs Daily Mail campaign to improve consumer protection laws
News / Thu 21st Jul 2022 at 08:59am
ROBERT Halfon, MP for Harlow and Chair of the Education Select Committee, attended a drop-in session, hosted by one of the UK’s highest-circulated daily newspapers, The Daily Mail, on their crusade to drastically improve consumer protection laws.
The Daily Mail is campaigning for new laws to stop customers from being left on hold for more than ten minutes. The new consumer protection law would propose big businesses will be fined if they do not answer their phones within ten minutes. As people are concerned about the impact of the cost of living on their energy bills, and other service providers, it is more important than ever that they can speak to their banks and energy suppliers in a reasonable timeframe to seek help and advice. The Pick Up and Pay campaign has so far seen thousands of letters of support from readers who say they have been left on hold for hours at a time by firms. A similar law has already been passed in Spain, where Ministers agreed to fine firms who do not pick up the phone in three minutes.
Commenting on the campaign, Mr Halfon said, “I was pleased to attend the Daily Mail event today to see the progress of their “Pick Up or Pay Up campaign”. Utility and service providers have a duty to their consumers, and currently, practices are not good enough with telephone services aiming to get people off the phone, rather than on it. Ultimately, it should not be this difficult or take that long to speak to a real life employee that can help you with your issue.
“The campaign echoes my work in Parliament on this issue and why I am applying for a backbench debate to ensure these companies prioritise customer service. “I will continue to work hard and support this campaign to ensure that residents of Harlow, and those up and down the country, are able to get the support and help they need.”
Perhaps this should be extended to include GP surgeries.
Perhaps Robert Halfon could do something about consumer surveys cited in television adverts? If you watch the adverts you will notice varying numbers of people surveyed to justify the companies' "best thing since sliced bread" claims. Some adverts cite figures surveyed below 100. Surely, to assist consumers making comparisons the Advertising Standards Authority should set a minimum number, such as 500. Then consumers could make a meaningful comparison between brands.
If you take a look at the Advertising Standards Authority guidance on surveys in non-broadcast media, you will it is not in the least restrictive. This needs to change: https://www.asa.org.uk/advice-online/substantiation-sampling-references-and-consumer-goods.html#1