As the UK International Consumer Centre (UKICC) enters its 15th year, the Journal of Trading Standards has published a special review of the service, looking back at the many ways in which it has helped consumers resolve disputes with traders based abroad since it began life in 2007 as the UK European Consumer Centre.
Over the course of its existence, the UKICC has dealt with a wide range of complex – and sometimes bizarre – cases, including complications surrounding the purchase of a horse from Sweden and the discovery of human fingers in a tin of dog food. It has supported tens of thousands of consumers, with events such as the Iceland volcanic eruption of 2010 leading to a surge in enquiries, and the arrival of EU Exit resulting in new challenges and upheaval.
As the UK enters into a new kind of relationship with its European neighbours and seeks to develop new trading relationships around the world, the UKICC has expanded its remit and forged new partnerships with consumer centres everywhere, from Japan and Mexico to the USA and New Zealand.
In recent years the UKICC has done its work against a backdrop of funding uncertainty, with concerns about its future ability to help consumers at a time when the need for its existence is more obvious than ever.
Now, as it embarks on its 15th year, the UKICC is in a position to celebrate its achievements and look ahead to more years of supporting UK consumers.