Bad pennies should be sued by customers, says consumer body
We've covered plenty of dubious selling practices on Bitterwallet in the past, from sales where the prices of items increase to outrageous postal charges for items marketed as free. What a wonderful world it would be if consumers had the right to sue such companies for taking the piss. There are plenty of stories of people with the stones going to court over such issues, but if compensation became an everyday occurrence we'd see a drastic improvement in the way businesses behaved.
Now Consumer Focus has piped up and said that's exactly what we should be doing. They reckon we're losing out on around £3.3 billion because of rotten sales techniques, and claim three out of five consumers have been conned over the past two years, leaving us all an average of £175 out of pocket. We're not sure of the maths involved there, but Consumer Focus are a statutory body so we'll take their word for it.
The most common illegal practice unsurprisingly involves premium phone numbers, with folk been told they've won a prize but then having to jump through a series of hoops to pay more more in call charges than the value of the prize itself, should it actually exist in the first place. Then there are the sales calls that wear you down until you've lost the will to live and sign away your life, and the free products that incur hidden charges. Honestly, they're all bastards aren't they?
Despite a mass of trading regulations to protect consumers, the law falls short of giving consumers the right to address the situation and claim compensation in return. Perhaps if the regulations - which are distinctly grey in places and wide open to interpretation in others - were not only more substantial but better enforced, there wouldn't be the need to consider legal action. As it is most of us would welcome the chance to make shady businesses pay up, so long as we then got to punch them in the balls too. Hard.