A RETAIL watchdog has been set up to resolve consumer complaints between shops and customers.
The Retail Ombudsman is aimed at helping consumers if they have made a complaint to a company and the issue is not resolved.
Barrister Dean Dunham, who starts work as ombudsman on 1 January, said the service will aid shoppers who would not be able to afford legal representation.
The service will be overseen by an independent board, which Sir Eric Peacock will chair.
The ombudsman will charge companies up to £2,000 a year and £45 for each case that it takes on.
It is voluntary for companies to join, but Dunham said that firms will show their willingness to be responsible businesses by signing up.
The Retail Ombudsman website lists Debenhams, Mothercare, Halfords, Argos and Boots among those with the scheme, but says it may be able to assist even in cases where firms are not members.
“By dealing with a member of The Retail Ombudsman, the public may be confident about the retailer’s practice and procedures, including the way in which it addresses customer complaints,” it said.