Know your rights

Know your rights

Everyone needs to know their basic statutory rights for shopping – in other words, the rights you have by law which a shop can’t change.

The Consumer Rights Act 2015

It is now two years since The Consumer Rights Act 2015 became law, replacing three major pieces of consumer legislation – the Sale of Goods Act, Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations and the Supply of Goods and Services Act.

What should you report to Trading Standards

You should report a company to Trading Standards if, for example:

  • they misled you into buying their products or services
  • they sold you unsafe or dangerous items
  • they didn’t carry out the work properly, for example, their work left your home in a dangerous state
  • they sold you fake or counterfeit items
  • they pressured you to buy something you didn’t
    want to buy
  • they sold you a car that wasn’t ‘roadworthy’ (it would cause danger if it was on the road)

What Trading Standards do

Trading Standards will decide whether to investigate your problem. If they do, they might contact you for more information and evidence. Depending on what they find out, they might take action to stop the trader from acting unfairly. For example, they might educate the trader about the law or take legal action against them to stop them from trading completely.

Even if Trading Standards don’t contact you, they might use your evidence to take action in the future.

Trading standards professionals act on behalf of consumers and business. They advise on and enforce laws that govern the way we buy, sell, rent and hire goods and services.

Trading standards officers (TSOs) work for local councils advising on consumer law, investigating complaints and, if all else fails, prosecuting traders who break the law.

These laws cover a wide area, which includes:

  • consumer safety
  • counterfeit goods
  • product labelling
  • weights and measures
  • under-age sales
  • animal welfare

Some jobs involve all aspects of trading standards work, some specialise in one area. Duties could include:

  • visiting local traders for routine checks or to investigate complaints
  • taking samples of goods for testing
  • checking that weighing scales and measures are accurate
  • checking that food labelling is correct and advertising is not misleading
  • advising consumers and businesses about the law
  • investigating suspected offences, which could include undercover or surveillance work
  • preparing evidence and prosecuting cases in court
  • inevitably, writing reports and keeping records

Don’t be afraid to complain if you feel you have been badly served by a trader or service provider, the law is on your side and the mechanism for handling complaints is straightforward.  Let us know if you have had cause to complain and how the system worked for you.

How to report a trader to Trading Standards

Call the Citizens Advice consumer helpline and tell them you want to report a trader to Trading Standards. The consumer helpline will assess your problem and pass it on to Trading Standards if it’s appropriate.

Citizens Advice consumer helpline

Telephone: 03454 04 05 06
Telephone a Welsh-speaking adviser: 03454 04 05 05
Open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.
Closed on bank holidays.

Calls to the helpline cost up to 9p per minute from a landline. If you’re calling from a mobile, it’ll cost between 3p and 40p per minute. An adviser will answer your call as soon as possible, usually within a few minutes. Once you’re speaking to an adviser your call should take an average of 8 to 10 minutes. Be prepared to tell the adviser details of the problem and the company’s name and address.