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Been a victim of rogue traders? Don’t forget Trading Standards

A rogue trader selling watches

Scammers, rogue traders and lousy service providers are all over the news, but there are ways to hit back. One often forgotten way to do this is to get in touch with your local Trading Standards department.

If you’re concerned about the trustworthiness of internet retailers, feel you’ve been door-stopped by rogue traders or think your local high street shop has tried to pull a fast one – have you told your local Trading Standards department?

Although the Office of Fair Trading and Financial Services Authority are often most visible when it comes to the fight against rogue traders, Trading Standards’ departments are the unsung heroes of the consumer protection world.

While they may not be able to reunite you with any money you’ve lost, they can play a role in ensuring that others don’t get caught out by the same tricks.

Trading Standards have teeth

Trading Standards departments – or ‘weights and measures’ as they were once known – have been around for well over a 100 years. But as they operate largely on a local level, they don’t tend to have the profile of other national consumer-focused organisations.

Yet, everyone has a Trading Standards in their local area. And while officers don’t have the resources to investigate every case that comes in the door, they are looking to identify and act upon identified trends.

Although their first step is usually to apply pressure on companies to conform to better standards, they have the teeth to take enforcement action if necessary.

At Which? we’re liaising with Trading Standards to investigate, highlight and pursue questionable firms that are seeking to take advantage of consumers.

Have you had any success reporting rogue traders to this unsung hero? Plus, if you have any issues you want to share with us below, we’ll be sure to pass them onto Trading Standards.

Comments
Member

i am not sure if this is still the case but I enquired of our local TSO for a list of firms/individuals they had taken action against prior to contracting some building work.

I was told that they could not do this! Who is protecting whom? I suggested and i was agreed if I monitored all the local courts I could make my own list : )

What is the current position?

Member
John Hull says:
12 April 2011

They’re right. Even under the Freedom of Information Act, Trading Standards Services are prevented from telling you what complaints have been made about businesses. In fairness, just because a complaint has been made, it doesn’t mean it’s justified, or that the business is a rogue, and likewise, just because a business doesn’t have complaints against them, doesn’t make them a good business (it only means that no-one has complained).

That’s why many Trading Standards Services operate approval or recommendation schemes for traders. The one in *****, where I live (and in many other parts of the country), is Buy With Confidence, and businesses can be found at buywithconfidence.gov.uk

Member

I did say taken action against which is a major step ahead – and I would be happy with those who are convicted if necessary : ) Open society, greater transparency … am I missing something here?

I assume that if I make a list of those convicted and post it on the Web that is in some way legal … or do I play safe and post it all to Wikileaks. The situation is farcical.

Recommendation schemes – I employed a nice chap from Crawley, son-in-law of a friend. Fairly useless but how was I going to deny returning a favourable card? And as for a follow up I have never received a call from Crawley TSO. What proportion of recommendations are checked.

And more to the point how come they can list approved but not unapproved! : )

Member

I contacted Trading standards, regarding charity doorstep collections that were unlicensed and illegal.
I gave them 3 days to contact myself and catch the charity collecting, in the act, they didn’t even return my phone call and did nothing about the unlicensed collections, for which there have been six more since January 2011.

Member
James Harrison says:
13 April 2011

Likewise, what of a national list of clients who do not pay up and bring up any number of excuses for non payment or underpayment? They think they are clever until someone eventually cracks and gets their own back on behalf of the peaceful masses of honest workmen/women who would surely take legal action would it not be so difficult/time-consuming/expensive.

Member
Mr Pompey says:
14 December 2011

I attempted to make a purchase from this site selecting and paying for an item from http://www.abercrombiefitchuksale.com.
1. I did not know this but despite their website name they are a China based company with goods sent from Shanghai
2. They sent a different item from what I requested. I have been in contact with them but they wont refund or send the correct item

They now do not respond to any correspondence from me. What can I do?

Member

I ordered from Natural Fencing in Suffolk in June 2014 have not recived the goods at October 2014 and they do reply to emails or calls. I have contacted Trading Standards and have also found out that the have had publicity in the past for not paying workers.

Member
Nicola says:
28 March 2018

Hi did you get any joy from Natural Fencing in Suffolk? I’m having similar issues and wondered how you got on?