Consumer advice body UK International Consumer Centre (UKICC) is continuing to grow the number of non-EU countries it has working agreements with, so boosting the armoury UK consumers have if they experience problems with overseas traders.
The UKICC now has agreements in place to handle cases with consumer organisations in 13 non-EU countries: Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Mongolia, Malaysia, USA, Canada, Mexico, Switzerland, Iceland, Norway, Cape Verde and most recently Thailand.
These agreements mean that consumer protection centres in these countries will work with the UKICC to support queries from consumers in each country about businesses in the other.
The UKICC’s 2nd quarter data report for 2022 shows that the centre has seen an increase in cases received against non-EU businesses. Complaint numbers went up by 39% (from 218 to 302 cases) from between the first quarter of 2022 and the second quarter.
Service Director at the UK International Consumer Centre, Andy Allen, said: “We continue to work towards developing new relationships with non-EU organisations across the world. This growth means that we are able to help more UK consumers when they buy something from outside the EU.
“UK consumers benefit because our service is free and the advice they get helps them know what their rights are in other countries around the world as well as those in a European network. UK residents have the reassurance that they have got backing from a consumer organisation like the UKICC if something goes wrong.
"Increasing mutual relations between participating countries is crucial to protect and empower consumers in a world which is becoming more global every day."
The UKICC is hosted by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI).