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Silly reason

Government plans to bring together several disparate consumer bodies, including the Financial Services Consumer Panel, into one organisation smack of little more than a Government casting around for something to do.

MM is baffled as to who thinks that bodies such as the consumer panel, the National Consumer Council, Energywatch, Postwatch and Ofcom’s consumer panel make a natural fit.

Consumer Direct promises to be a muddle of an organisation covering several industries regulated in different ways and requiring different levels of consumer protection.

Clearly, in the realm of finan- cial services, it will leave the field open almost exclusively to Which? as the new body finds its feet.

There is a need in financial serv-ices to have a better idea of where consumer responsibility lies embodied in the principle of caveat emptor. The consumer panel is, we believe, opposed to any significant application of the principle by the FSA. This is a shame but at least when industry representatives raise the idea, the panel members know what they are talking about. Merging these bodies is a very silly idea.

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