It is difficult enough for Consumers to manage under ordinary circumstances, but, to be faced with confusion and disinformation about Rights makes their quest for Justice all the more difficult.
We do not know exactly what the future holds for UK Consumers, but it is fair to say that whatever the games of Westminster Politicians, the lure of a deregulated society has taken a grip of our politicians and I predict that we shall begin to see the fruits of this within 12 months of the proposed Brexit-Day.
Within this landscape there are however remarkable individuals, who in some cases, operate across borders to create a good regulatory platform for Consumers.
For several years, some of these Campaigners or Bodies have been identified as being exceptional Consumer Defenders and as we rapidly approach the end of 2018, it is important to identify them and celebrate their work.
Each recognition is accompanied by the following citation:
“The recipient of this award is recognised as a Consumer Defender in 2018. Their work reveals a passion and dedication to their cause. Their work is long and sometimes tedious, but they never lose sight of their ultimate goals; righting an injustice and making the world a better and safer place for their fellow Citizens. At the heart of what they do lies compassion, kindness and patience. Their quiet dignity, in the face of a political or commercial intransigence, reveals the essence of their humanity. They are the voice of the weak in a Commercial World; they are Consumer Defenders”
Frank Brehany is proud to announce his choice of Consumer Defenders for 2018:
- Consumer A. This Consumer wishes to remain anonymous but she represents the ordinary Consumer experience and a determination to obtain Justice against a sometimes erratic Small Claims Court. This Consumer fought a Claim against a supplier who ignored Court Rules and Directions. Not deterred, the Consumer maintained her fight up to the hearing. That hearing revealed an aggressiveness from the ‘bench’ which was unwarranted. Her steely nerve ensured that despite the obvious difficulties, she ensured that Justice was delivered. Consumer A’s actions provides comfort to other Consumers that Justice is obtainable, but she also represents many Consumers that have spoken with Frank and who have experienced difficult and challenging Court situations. Consumer A is an outstanding example of courage, grit and determination!
- Consumer B. This Consumer wishes to remain anonymous. She is fighting an injustice whereby her employer deployed a less than satisfactory set of payments into her Stakeholder Pension. Despite arguing for rectification by her employer, they simply did not respond positively to resolve matters. This Consumer was not going to be deterred; she embarked on providing great detail, making a comparison to regulatory obligations and making formal complaints to the Pensions Ombudsman and the Pension Regulator. The process is slow and she has discovered that the Regulator has no legal obligation to inform her let alone report back to her on the result of her complaint! This Consumer has demonstrated that she intends to pursue matters both through the complaints process and on a political level. She is but one of many Consumers affected by this issue; she reflects the very best of a Consumer refusing to kow-tow to closed doors!
- The European Commission. Whilst currently it is not popular to cite the EU Commission in any positive light, it is vitally important to recognise the contribution that they are making to improving and extending Consumer Rights. This is best demonstrated through the Commission’s New Deal for Consumers Initiative and in particular the new initiative of Representative Actions. Recognising the difficulty that Consumers face within the Single Market against Companies that deliver a defective product or service, the Commission is driving forward the initiative whereby Consumers will be able to join together, across borders, using not-for-profit Consumer Organisations to help them access swift Justice. This is a remarkable initiative and demonstrates that there will be no hiding place for Companies; the Commission should be proud in creating this new initiative, all in the best tradition of governmental action;
- Captain John Goss. John was a senior airline pilot who ‘whistleblew’ for safety and became subject to a number of legal actions. One area of great concern to John is on the issue of Cabin Air Quality. John is active in Europe on this distinct issue. His logic is that there is a need to address this very real problem, because if the crew are protected, this has the onward affect of protecting Consumers. John is courageous in his advocacy and is a credit to the piloting profession; he has suffered great personal detriment but remains focussed on doing the right thing for aviation, crew and Consumers;
- Rachel Humphrey. Rachel has once again appeared on the Consumer Defender list. Her tenacity on behalf of those suffering with diabetes is exemplary; ensuring that those travelling with diabetic equipment through airports are not subject to unwarranted and invasive searches. Rachel has brought their plight to the attention of Westminster Politicians and whilst she has received plenty of reassurance, she maintains her vigil, not just within the UK but also at an International level. She represents the very best in direct Consumer Advocacy;
- Alan Cox. Yet again Alan appears on the Consumer Defender List. His vast experience in fire safety has been deployed to reveal the major deficiencies that exist in buildings that the Public or Holidaymakers visit. Alan works extensively in the media, being called upon to critically assess fire safety where it appears Authorities do not address. Alan is tenacious, quietly determined and above all a powerful advocate on behalf of fire safety but in particular Consumer Safety.
Along with these six Consumer Defenders, there are many more who provide a strong advocacy, fearlessly, often against direct or indirect threats; we should never forget their work!
Frank Brehany states:
“I am once again proud to know these Consumer Defenders but also the wider world of Consumer Advocates. In this troubled world, it is refreshing and empowering to be in the company of these very fine Defenders; we need this courage and determination because surely they help to contribute positive change and improved process and safety for all; I am proud to be associated with each and every one of them”