A consumer advice team is officially providing the highest level of service to the people of Middlesbrough.
Middlesbrough Trading Standards Consumer Advice Service has been awarded the Specialist Quality Mark in Consumer and General Contract Law.
The award was made by the SQM Delivery Partnership, who carried out an audit on behalf of the Legal Services Commission.
The award is the highest category of service achievable within the Legal Services Commission’s Quality framework.
The Consumer Advice Service provides valuable advice and assistance to help people obtain redress to which they are legally entitled.
Alison Jones, Consumer Advice Service manager, said: “This award is a result of a great deal of dedication and continued hard work by the specialist officers within the service. We are very proud to receive it.”
She added: “More and more people are finding it necessary to contact the Consumer Advice Service due to the current economic climate.
“People cannot afford not to pursue their legal rights and retailers have no option but to tighten controls on what they offer their customers when things go wrong.”
In a survey in 2010, 37% of females and 48% of male users who contacted the service were aged over 60.
While the service is able to help people of any age the majority of those which rely on the service are from the older generation.
Councillor Julia Rostron, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive Member for Community Protection, said: “This award is a fantastic achievement and is attributable to the hard work of all the officers concerned.
“It is a great reassurance to the public when a council service is independently accredited as providing a service of excellence.”
The office, which is based in 51 Corporation Road, provides in-depth consumer advice service to the residents of Middlesbrough.
The service has continued to work to the highest level since it first obtained the Specialist Quality Mark in 2002.
To contact the Consumer Advice Service call 01642 728447.