Analysis of Selected Countries: United Kingdom

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Abstract:

In the United Kingdom, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) plays the major role in consumer education. The OFT published its Consumer Education: A Strategy and Framework in 2004. Under this strategy, the OFT has for the first time statutory power to use consumer education as a tool. The strategy sets out the aim of giving "consumers the skills and knowledge to function confidently, effectively, and responsibly when buying goods and services" (OFT, 2004). However, the only current statutory reference to consumer education appears in the Enterprise Act 2006, Section 6, which confers upon the OFT discretionary power to publish educational materials or carry out other educational activities. The framework for the strategy was set up by the OFT. In concrete terms, the strategy's objectives are to seek to identify: the skills and knowledge consumers need; instances where a lack of skills and knowledge leads to harm; and how skills can be developed and knowledge improved to meet identified gaps. 

Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: February 1, 2009

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