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Advice for consumers

If you require advice on buying goods and services or wish to report an incident to Trading Standards, please call the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0345 404 0506, or visit the Citizens Advice website - Consumer section.

How to make a consumer complaint

If you have a problem with a trader, goods or service, please contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040506. They will be able to offer advice and support, as well as giving you guidance on what you can do next. The Citizens Advice Consumer Service will pass your complaint on to us. We will only contact you further ourselves should we require further information from you.

If it is a civil matter, the onus will be on you to take further action, such as writing a letter of complaint or taking a trader to the small claims court. We do not do this on your behalf.

More information on making a court claim. 

Product recalls

The Chartered Trading Standards Institute website lists products which have been recalled by manufacturers because they could cause injury or illness.

All items listed on the product recalls list should not be opened or consumed, and should be returned to the retailer for a full refund.

Scams

Scams come in all shapes and sizes – from doorstep rogue traders selling dodgy driveways, to email and postal scams with non-existent lottery wins that demand payment up front.

Find out about types of scam and how to spot them at the Citizens Advice website section on scams.

If you know of a scam or have been victim of one, please report it to Trading Standards.       

We also suggest that you report it at the ActionFraud website.            

Loan sharks

People who loan money without being authorized by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) are known as loan sharks.

They charge very high rates of interest and don’t give you much paperwork to confirm the arrangements they have made with you.

Loan sharks often take illegal action to collect the money they have lent you such as threatening violence.

For more information on how to check if a lender is authorised, and on what to do if you owe money to a loan shark, visit the Citizens Advice website section on loan sharks.

Buy With Confidence scheme for consumers

In response to concerns about rogue traders, a partnership of local authority trading standards services put together the Buy With Confidence scheme.

It provides consumers with businesses who have been vetted and approved to ensure that they operate in a legal, honest and fair way.

Doorstep crime

Crimes can occur on the doorstep such as distraction burglary when traders call unannounced with the intention of selling goods.

Don’t deal with people who cold call at your door step trying to sell goods.

If you need work done on your property find a trader who has been checked and approved by the Buy With Confidence scheme.

Approved traders

Approved traders can be found via the Chartered Trading Standards Institutes approved codes scheme. 

Can trading standards force a trader to give me my money back?

No, unfortunately we can’t. If we believe a trader is setting out to deliberately deceive customers or is otherwise criminally breaking the law (rather than it being a civil dispute between customer and trader), we may take steps to ensure they comply with relevant legislation. However, this doesn’t usually include obtaining financial compensation for individual customers (although if a trader is habitually ignoring consumers rights, we can force them into an undertaking to provide better service).

By knowing your rights, as well as following advice from the  Citizens advice consumer service and official online sources, you should be able to resolve most disputes yourself (traders often back down when shown their legal responsibilities by a consumer who is well-informed). However if that doesn’t work and you still feel you’re entitled to your money back or other redress, you may need to go to court. This may not be as expensive and daunting as you may think, and in the small claims court (which deals with disputes up to £10,000) you may not even need a lawyer.

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