Trading Standards Consumer Advice

From time to time you may need assistance to resolve a dispute with a company you have dealt with. Trading Standards cannot assist with individual complaints but this page will provide more information about the function of the team and links to the organisations that can help you with your issue.

Trading Standards 

Most people think of Trading Standards when they have a problem with faulty goods or an issue regarding a service, whether that be a problem with some work done on a car or some building work that has gone wrong. Some years ago central government set up the Citizens Advice Consumer Service to be the first point of contact for all consumer complaints. 

The Citizens Advice Consumer Service provides free, confidential and impartial advice on consumer issues including faulty and dangerous goods or services. The Service will discuss your issue with you and identify any criminal issues. They specialise in providing consumers with the practical advice they need to try to resolve their dispute and if needed can provide you with template letters to use.

Citizens Advice are trained to identify any criminal offences that may have been committed by the business you are dealing with. During your call to them they will take your contact information and pass the details of the offence through to Trading Standards and this is the point at which we get involved. If the trading standards officer looking at your complaint needs to speak to you, to obtain further information, they will contact you directly.

If you would like to report an issue you are having with a business please call the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 040 506. NOTE  Call charges apply, click here to find out more

So what do trading standards do?

While we cannot help you to resolve your individual problem, we do have the power to enforce legislation relating to the supply of goods and services where an offence has been committed e.g. dangerous goods, fake products and misdescribed goods such as cars with altered mileage. 

  • We can take informal action on less serious cases - this would take the form of giving advice, guidance and education to traders who have broken the law and making sure they do not do it again.
  • Take formal action on the more serious cases, by prosecuting in criminal court, issuing cautions, applying for injunctions, issuing statutory notices, entering premises and seizing goods and/or documents.
  • Carrying out routine and intelligence led inspections, to ensure products (including food) are being sold safely and with accurate information, to allow the customer to make safe and informed choices about what they buy. 
  • Monitor and deal with animal health and welfare issues

Product Safety Information including recalls

  • Product Recalls - A list of recent product recalls, including foods, published by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute
  • Electrical Product Recalls - Information from Electrical Safety First concerning recalls of unsafe electrical goods
  • Vehicle Recalls and mileage checks - this website allows you to enter a vehicle registration number and find any outstanding vehicle recalls and also look at the MOT history of the vehicle - if you notice the milage has been higher in the past you may be looking at a 'clocked' car which has more wear and tear than you think.

Further Consumer Advice Information

  • Mailing Preference Service - To Help stop unwanted junk mail sign up to the Mailing Preference Service
  • Telephone Preference Service - To help stop unwanted sales calls sign up to the Telephone Preference Service.
  • Shopping on the Internet  - Shopping on the internet is growing and now you can buy virtually anything online. Here are some simple steps you can take when shopping online to protect yourself, your card details and your identity.
  • National Debtline - Provides free and impartial advice to people with debt problems they can be contacted on 0808 808 4000
  • Stop Loan Sharks Project - A national scheme to assist the victims of illegal money lenders or loan sharks.
  • Think Jessica - Scams Warning - The scammers try to make the letters look like they are important documents, hoping to trick the recipient into sending them money or disclose personal information about themselves or family members.
  • Investigatory Powers Tribunal - The IPT exists to investigate complaints about the potential conduct of various public bodies, in relation to you, your property or communications.
  • Phishing - A method used by fraudsters to access valuable personal details such as usernames and passwords, advice from ActionFraud.
  • Buying a used car - reduce the risk of buying a stolen vehicle.
  • Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) - this organisation regulates the conduct of over 56,000 financial companies, including insurers
  • OFCOM - UK regulator for the communications industry including postal services, television, internet and phones etc
  • OFGEM - UK regulator for the energy industry including gas and electricity suppliers


Last Updated: 13 December 2019