About the South Hams
We offer information and advice on any subject, to everyone. We’ll let you know your rights and your responsibilities.
Some people tell us their circumstances and ask us to find out if they are on the right benefits; others ask us for help with their debts; for others we advise on housing issues, give advice on the neighbours, employment issues or relationships.
It’s true to say that many people know that when the chips are down Citizens Advice is here to help. But did you know that we have these extra areas of expertise too?
Extra areas of expertise
Are you paying over the odds for gas and electricity? Are you on the right tariff?
We can help you find out. And if it’s right for you, we can help you switch to a better deal.
What do you think of the health and social care services where you live? Good? Bad? So-so?
We can help you direct your feedback to the right people in the right organisations and make sure that your voice is heard.
We are partners with Healthwatch Devon and our local South Hams Champion is keen to hear your views on everything, from GPs and hospitals to care homes and more.
To book an appointment with Tessa ring our Adviceline number.
If you’re aged over 50, have a personal or work-based pension and want to know your options, Pensionwise can help.
Find out what you can do with your pension pot, how to shop around and what to look out for with taxes and fees.
We’ll explain how to avoid pension scams and the importance of taking your time to make sure your money lasts as long as you do.
Unfortunately Pensionwise cannot provide information on final salary or career average pensions but if you would like to book a face to face appointment at our offices in Totnes, or chat over the phone ring 01803 503005.
Research and Campaigns
One of our aims at Citizens Advice South Hams is to improve the policies and practices that affect people’s lives.
We collect evidence of clients’ problems and use this, in the form of anonymous case studies, to campaign for changes in national and local policies and services. We have a key role in speaking up for clients, raising issues brought into Citizens Advice South Hams, contributing to public debate and informing legislation.
Our policy/campaign work covers a wide range of issues including consumer, debt, housing, benefits, immigration, employment, legal matters and health.
We are independent and impartial so policymakers listen to us.
Some of the issues we are collecting information on at the moment are:
Buying a used car? Check it don’t regret it!
A car is often one of the most expensive purchases a person makes in a lifetime. Many individuals and families depend on cars to get to work, to do the school run, to get to supermarkets where they can access reasonably priced goods, and to visit friends and family members. So finding a car that is safe, legal, and that fits the bill is of huge importance.
However, buying a used car can be a tricky business. Used cars are the biggest single issue being reported to Citizens Advice consumer service – it deals with over 80,000 used car problems a year.
Fair play for prepay
What’s the issue?
Despite paying on average £80 a year more than direct debit customers, energy prepayment meter users get a second class service including:
• Limited top up options
• Little or no choice of tariffs
• Faulty keys or meters
• Poor customer service.
Citizens Advice evidence also reveals that 16 per cent of prepayment meter users are cut off over the winter: either because they cannot afford to buy more energy or because they are unable to top-up their meter.
What can you do to tackle scams?
There are four things that you can do if you suspect that you are the target of a scam:
• CHECK with a trusted friend, relative or neighbour.
• GET advice from the Citizens Advice consumer service 08454 04 05 06 or 03454 04 05 05 for a Welsh-speaking adviser.
Get online consumer advice and information at: www.citizensadvice.org.uk.
To report a problem to trading standards, contact the Citizens Advice consumer service. Trading Standards are responsible for protecting consumers and the community against rogue and unfair traders.
• REPORT scams and suspected scams to Action Fraud 0300 123 2040 www.actionfraud.police.uk Action Fraud is the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and internet crime. If debit cards, online banking or cheques are involved in the scam the consumer’s first step should be to contact their bank or credit card company.
• TELL family, friends, neighbours so that they can avoid scams.
Scams: Don’t be rushed, don’t be hushed…
We’re here to help – please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.
On our contact page you’ll find details for opening times and how to reach us in Totnes, Ivybridge, Kingsbridge and Dartmouth.
Volunteering with South Hams Citizens Advice helps make a difference in your local community.
Use your existing experience or develop new talents and skills.
We are an independent charity providing advice that is impartial, confidential and free.
All donations are very gratefully received and help us keep our services going.