Consumer Advice


ICA is a professional body for people working in consumer protection and does not provide advice to the public.

If you have a consumer problem, you can contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline. The helpline will give you advice on how to resolve your complaint and pass information about complaints to Trading Standards.


Citizens Advice consumer helpline: 0808 223 1133

Textphone: 18001 0808 223 1133


Calls from mobiles and landlines are free.  Lines are open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, except bank holidays.


Or visit Citizens Advice


To find a trusted trader or more information on where to get help, visit our links page.

What is the Institute of Consumer Affairs?


The Institute of Consumer Affairs (ICA) is a self-supporting network of individual professionals involved in consumer protection. It began in 1974 as the professional body for consumer advisers working in local authorities, Trading Standards, Consumer Advice Centres, Citizens Advice Bureaux and other independent advice agencies.


We aim to promote and protect the interests of consumers by supporting the development of consumer advice services and sharing our front-line experience with regulators, government and consumer representative bodies.

What are the Objectives?


  • To promote and protect the interests of consumers.


  • To promote good practice in consumer protection by encouraging appropriate levels of advice, representation, information, education and enforcement services which reflect the needs of all consumers.


  • To influence consumer affairs policy and represent the interests of consumers facing disadvantage.


  • To promote the training and development of members, through provision of free or low cost training courses, advice and information.


  • To ensure and protect the professional status of members.

  • Statutory and non-statutory sectors

  • Regulatory and self-regulatory bodies

  • Voluntary sector

  • Individuals in business

Who are the Members?


  • Front-line advice and enforcement staff

  • Consumer educators

  • Service managers

  • Policy officers


We work with other consumer protection organisations to promote proper resourcing of consumer protection activities and help members to deliver quality services.

What are the benefits?


The Institute is an information sharing and support network. Consumer advisers often work in isolation within larger organisations. For many years the ICA has provided support for consumer advice specialists. Advisers can benefit in particular from speedy communication with colleagues via icanews and from meeting with other members both formally and informally at training and seminars.


Other benefits include:


  • Seminars with high profile speakers on topical issues

  • Opportunities to have input into policy through responses to consultations

  • A  newsgroup where members can seek and share advice and information

  • Free or low cost training

How is ICA managed?


The Annual General Meeting elects officers to the ICA Executive each year. The ICA Executive officers manage the Institute on a voluntary basis and receive no payment. 

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