Marketing Mix: We'll call you - Consumer Direct

After the holiday from hell, we rang the government's customer advice line to find out if we have cause for redress.

CD Good morning Consumer Direct, how may I help?

Mtkg I got a leaflet through my door about your service saying you help with all sorts of 'consumer issues'.

CD Right.

Mtkg I went on holiday and what they promised us in the brochure didn't live up to expectations.

CD There's not a lot we can actually advise on. It depends what you're actually looking for from the situation. What do you want?

Mtkg Well, we paid a lot of money for a holiday we didn't get.

CD OK. The advice I can offer you is to write to the company.

Mtkg We've already done that several times and got nowhere.

CD You could say that you were misled and promised all these things. Itemise the letter.

Mtkg Yeah, done that.

CD All we would advise is to argue that you were misled. You could say you had a lack of enjoyment due to these things not happening.

Mtkg We've already done all that. I decided to call you because your leaflet says you provide 'clear practical advice'.

CD We deal mainly with consumer law with faulty goods.

Mtkg But surely buying a holiday is like buying a product?

CD You could argue that, but I would advise you to write to the company and state you're not happy with the holiday.

Mtkg What's the next step?

CD Was it through a travel agent?

Mtkg No, directly from the operator.

CD You can argue if they are with ABTA.

Mtkg I've already been to them and so far I've got nowhere.

CD Maybe the Citizens Advice Bureau, then? They help draft a letter to the company. We don't mediate when it comes to these situations.

Mtkg What's the point of your organisation?

CD We provide clear practical consumer advice and complex issues get passed to Trading Standards. There have been a lot of issues where Trading Standards haven't had a chance to operate with criminal issues.


The direct mail promoting this service described it as an all-singing, all-dancing helpline.

However, the call experience didn't live up to the hype and I came off the phone wondering why the government had spent money on this new set-up when a website would have sufficed.

The call-handler didn't sound like he had much confidence in what he was saying, and repeated the same advice as if reading from a script.

Score 3/10.


Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Brand Republic Jobs

subscribe now


Oasis #springasmile digital campaign gets people doing good deeds
Coca-Cola: 'Don't approach bloggers with a fait accompli'
Tesco CMO Matt Atkinson: 'It is so important not to stereotype mothers'
McDonald's gives Ronald a new look ahead of global 'Fun times' social media push
In pictures: BrewDog opens first craft beer shop BottleDog for 'beer aficionados'
Facebook ad revenue leaps $1bn as it invests in targeting
Malteser or Maltesers? Mars takes Hershey trademark dispute to court
Apple Q2 profits top $10bn as iPhone sales soar
Lynx tells men not to leave love to fate
HBO captures awkwardness of watching sex scenes with parents
Primark to open first US stores with Boston chosen as flagship location
Marketing spend on the up but a reality check is needed before celebrating
Top 10 ads of the week: Jackpotjoy and BT Broadband fend off Kevin Bacon
Lidl beats Tesco to 10m Facebook fans
Center Parcs ad banned for encouraging parents to take kids out of school
Coca-Cola, Cadbury and Amazon named top brands for targeting youth market
Leaked document shows Nokia to be rebranded as Microsoft Mobile
Nike lays-off hardware staff in move that casts doubt on future of FuelBand
Greenpeace says save the bees or humans will die
What brands need to know about changes to VAT and online downloads in 2015
Jimmy Savile victims urged to claim compensation in new ad campaign
UKIP launches biggest  ad campaign and stirs up 'racist' accusations
Apple boss Tim Cook provides voiceover on ad touting firm's renewed green commitments
John Lewis walks consumers through its history to celebrate 150 years of business
Waitrose boosts content strategy with 'Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose' C4 tie-up
Hottest virals: Cute puppies star in Pedigree ad, plus Idris Elba and Fruyo
Amnesty International burns candles to illuminate new hope
Tom of Finland's 'homoerotic' drawings made into stamps
Toyota achieves the impossible by calming angry Roman drivers
YouTube reveals user habits to appeal to 'older' marketers