Consumer advice is provided on our behalf by the Citizens Advice service and they will pass details of any enforcement issues to us.
Scams and fraud
One common complaint involves scams, which try to obtain money by false pretences or gather identity information. The Metropolitan Police's Little Book of Big Scams identifies the most common scams and offers advice about how to protect yourself. Many other websites provide information and resources on scams and fraud, such as:
Trading standards has produced advice and guidance information that answer questions on a wide range of consumer issues.
- Disputes - advice and guidance
- Vehicles - advice and guidance
- Problems with goods - advice and guidance
- Problems with services - advice and guidance
- Other problems - advice and guidance
Consumer advice - frequently asked question
Do not be tempted to do business with anyone that calls on your door unannounced telling you that work is necessary. Always deal with locally recognised traders who you can find and go back to if a problem arises.
Ask for references and the names and addresses of other customers with whom you can check that the work was carried out in a satisfactory manner. Do not be tempted by deals offering to do the job for cash avoiding any VAT or paperwork. Reputable tradesmen will provide paperwork, put all income through their books and generally do not need to call door to door to find work.
Trading Standards operates an approved trader scheme through Trustmark.
When a consumer buys second-hand goods from a private seller they have no legal remedy if the goods are faulty.
However, when goods are bought from a trader, the law says they must be as described, of satisfactory quality and fit for their purpose.
If it seems like the seller on the online auction site is a trader then they may be in breach of contract and should remedy the fault, pay for reasonable repairs or return some or all of the purchase cost. Take a look at their other sales and selling history. If they sell a lot of goods they may be a trader rather than a private seller.
Due to this difference in liability, it is important that consumers know if they buy goods from a trader. For this reason the law prohibits traders from falsely claiming or creating the impression that they are not acting in the course of their trade or business.
If you suspect that the online seller is a trader purporting to be a private seller report to them to Trading Standards so that they can be investigated.