The highest number of complaints last year, came from used car owners who bought from independent dealers, new figures have shown.
More than half a million people in the UK complained about shoddy products worth £3.5 billion in the last year, forcing Citizens Advice to call on retailers to display consumer rights information at checkouts.
Complaints were lodged by 45,000 used car buyers in the year to February, followed by 12,000 complaints about mobile phone contract and 11,500 about repairs by an independent garage.
Other top grievances included:
- Upholstered furniture
- Mobile phone handsets
- Notebooks and tablet PCs
- Women's clothing
- General building work
- Beds and mattresses
According to Citizens Advice Bureaux, 1.6 million people sought advice online, with five times as many people visiting its website this February compared to February 2012.
Citizens Advice chief executive Gillian Guy said:
It is outrageous that businesses are taking advantage of customers who don't know their rights.
For many people, money is so tight right now that it is a real set back if the trader refuses to replace faulty goods or give refunds.
A quick reminder of your rights displayed at every in-store and online checkout, and said over the phone, would stop arguments at the till between confused customers and poorly informed salespeople. And it will help people tell which traders they can and can't trust.
According to consumer minister Jo Swinson, "significant steps" towards strengthening consumer rights and protections had been made since last year.
– Jo Swinson, Consumer minister
We are working on a Consumer Bill of Rights which will make it clear and easy for consumers to know their rights when buying goods, services or digital content.
These changes will help consumers immensely and it's important that we make people aware of their legal rights. Which?'s new consumer rights website is a really great tool to point consumers in the right direction and provide them with useful advice and tips.