1.8m shoppers fail to get goods they've paid for Survey finds nearly 10% consumers are 'ripped off'

07 August 2009

Scales of justice

Almost 10% of consumers have not received goods they've already paid for, according to a survey conducted by the government's consumer body, Consumer Focus.

From this, Consumer Focus estimates 20 million UK consumers have made pre-payments for goods and services, with 1.8 million not getting what they ordered. Just under half of those received no compensation, losing an average of £242 each.

The recession played a part, with company insolvencies the reason for 20% of cases. The latest figures from the Insolvency Service, announced today, show that in the last year one in 120 active companies went into liquidation, a record high. Consumer Focus wants creditors to move up the pecking order when a company does go bust.

You can find out your rights when a shop goes bust in our consumer rights section.

Consumer protection

Looking at the consumer safety nets in the pre-payments area, Consumer Focus report Pay now, pay later found that ‘the current arrangements are confusing, inconsistent and have failed to keep pace with the changing economy’.

The body wants the different levels of protection when buying with credit or debit cards to be harmonised. But at the moment buying via a credit card gives consumers enhanced protection under the Consumer Credit Act. The Which? guide to your rights when buying by credit card is stacked with guidance. We can also help you choose the .

The government has committed to looking at the regulatory framework for prepayments in its Consumer White Paper, in which it banned unsolicited credit card cheques.

Buying online

Consumer Focus found that the rise of e-commerce is part of this picture, with 61% of failure cases being online sales. Which? has advice on your rights when shopping online.

Which? consumer news

For daily consumer news, subscribe to the Which? news RSS feed . If you have an older web browser you may need to copy and paste this link into your newsreader: http://www.which.co.uk/feeds/reviews/news.xml. Find out more about RSS in the Which? guide to news feeds.