A service under threat

This was the year that saw large numbers of UK consumers coping with the challenge of COVID-19 and it was a busy year for the UK ECC.

Early during the COVID-19 pandemic, the centre saw a record number of enquiries in a 48-hour period (in April 2020), with more than 1,000 consumers seeking its expertise and advice in relation to airline flight cancellations. This was the biggest influx of consumer enquiries since the 2010 Icelandic volcanic ash cloud chaos.

Figures show that in the whole of 2020, the centre helped 12,287 UK consumers, that’s an increase of almost 25% (24.8%) over 2019.

But 2020 also became the year during which the UK ICC’s very existence started to become under threat as the UK left the EU (at the end of January 2020).

CTSI Vice-President Baroness Christine Crawley said: “The centre has grown from strength to strength in the years since its inception in 2007 and now helps thousands of UK consumers each year.

“UK consumers turn to the UK ICC when they’ve got problems they can’t solve themselves. And it’s during crises that it really shines: for example, over the space of a few weeks at the end of March 2020/beginning of April 2020, 2,500 UK consumers approached its consumer advisers for help over holiday and flight cancellation problems as a result of COVID-19. It’s clear that the centre is needed more than ever.

“Nothing else quite like it exists – it is a hub of specialist free advice which UK consumers can use to help them deal with disputes arising from purchases of goods and services from traders not only in the EU, Iceland or Norway, but also in a growing number of countries globally.

“Its demise would be a huge loss to UK consumers, who need to be reassured that the UKICC will still be around and still be helping long into the future.”

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