The Trading Standards Institute is the professional association which represents trading standard professionals in the UK and overseas.
On this webpage you can find information for business and advice for consumers.
There is also detailed information about single use carrier bags and doorstop selling.
Advice for businesses
Trading standards enforce more than 70 Acts of Parliament and hundreds of pieces of related legislation. The work falls within these areas:
- fair trading
- trade descriptions
- counterfeit goods
- product safety
- weights and measures
- consumer credit
- animal health and welfare
- various licensing laws
The aims of the service are:
- To promote a safe and fair trading environment to protect the health and well being of both the residents and the economy of Monmouthshire
- To educate and inform consumers to allow them to make informed, confident decisions
- To educate and advise local business thereby helping local economies, and prevent unfair advantage through unscrupulous or illegal practices
- To ensure that consumers and business have easy access to the service
- To ensure that high standards of animal health and welfare are maintained within the farming community of Monmouthshire
- give impartial advice on consumer law and your rights
- suggest action you can take
- advise on civil court procedure
- investigate if a criminal offence has been committed
- close businesses down
- automatically obtain a refund, repair or replacement for you
- recommend businesses
- take action if the criminal law has not been broken
- tell you which businesses to avoid
Trading standards advice for consumers
Consumer advice is provided by Citizens Advice Consumer Service. They will provide:
- advice before shopping
- information on consumer rights
- practical advice on individual problems
- a link to other advice agencies
They can be contacted by telephone:
- on 03454 040506 English line (Calls to 03 numbers cost the same as calling 01 and 02 numbers and count towards inclusive allowances on landlines and mobiles.)
- on 03454 040505 Welsh line (Calls to 03 numbers cost the same as calling 01 and 02 numbers and count towards inclusive allowances on landlines and mobiles.)
- 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday
The Trustmark Scheme
TrustMark is the Government backed approved trader scheme designed to help ensure that traders are reputable and carry out good quality work.
Businesses who become members of the scheme undertake to operate their business in a legal, honest and fair way and are vetted and monitored by a Trustmark Scheme Operator.
Single use carrier bags
Since 1 October 2011, there has been a minimum charge of 5p on all single use carrier bags.
The carrier bag charge was introduced to reduce the number of carrier bags used in Wales.
The Welsh Government has consulted on the charge and there were some changes after feedback from businesses, organisations and individuals. Please view the Guidance on Enforcement of the Single Use Carrier Bags Charge (Wales) Regulations 2010.
The 5p charge should be enough to influence consumer behaviour and reduce the number of bags given out without putting an unnecessary burden on shoppers, or preventing impulse shopping.
A Quick Guide: your rights when buying on the doorstep or in the home
Doorstep selling is when a salesperson sells you goods or services in your home or on your doorstep. This Quick Guide explains people’s rights when they agree to spend more than £35 with a trader in their home or on their doorstep. These rights apply even if you invite someone into your home.
Sometimes salespeople apply pressure selling which is illegal. For advice on buying safely and wisely on the doorstep see our Ten Top Tips.
Written cancellation notice
By law the trader must give you a written cancellation notice at the time you buy, telling you about your right to cancel (even if there is no written contract). If you don’t get a cancellation notice, there’s no binding contract between you and the trader and you don’t have to go through with the sale.
Seven day cooling off period
You usually have a cooling-off period of seven days to change your mind and cancel.
The cooling-off period starts on the day you get the cancellation notice. If you cancel within the seven days you won’t owe anything and you should get back any money you have already paid (including a deposit).
Deciding to cancel
If you do decide to cancel the contract you must let the trader know in writing within seven days of receiving the cancellation notice. When cancelling, keep a copy of your letter or email as proof of cancellation. If you send your letter by post, get proof of postage as well. If you receive goods during the cooling-off period and you didn’t agree to this in writing, you don’t have to pay anything if you cancel. Keep the goods safe and ask the trader to collect them. The trader should not insist that you pay any money.
Starting work or delivering goods within the cooling-off period
If you are buying services or certain types of goods (e.g. customised goods) you can agree in writing for work to start or goods to be delivered during the cooling-off period. If you have agreed this in writing then you
can still cancel within seven days, but you may have to pay the trader something (usually a reasonable amount).
For further information, visit www.adviceguide.org.uk or call the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0345 404 05 06
Ten Top Tips
1. Don’t sign on the spot
Don’t feel pressured to agree on the spot- if you are interested in what they are selling, you can ask them to come back at another time that is more convenient for you, maybe when you have someone else with you or you’ve shopped around.
2. Check the trader’s identity
Always ask for an identity card and look up the organisation to check the salesperson’s identity is genuine. Don’t use the number on their card. Check if the trader is a member of a reputable trade body, like the Direct Selling Association, whose members should ensure their salespeople sell responsibly.
3. Be wary of special offers or warnings about your home
Don’t get taken in by sales banter or high pressure selling techniques. Don’t be hurried into a decision even if there is a discount. The discount might be on a price that is too high in the first place.
4. Always shop around for the best price
Check with other companies offering the same product first. Make sure the price and product is right for you.
5. Read the small print
Always read documents carefully before you sign them and make sure you fully understand your rights. It’s best to ask salespeople to call back so you can do this in your own time – don’t be rushed into signing before you feel ready.
6. Double check the facts
Make sure you fully understand the total costs of the transaction including estimates, delivery and installation and the arrangements for after-sales servicing, such as the guarantees or warranties. Only agree to make a purchase once you’re entirely satisfied that the transaction is acceptable.
7. Talk to someone you trust for a second opinion>
Take the time to talk to someone you trust (for example your family, a friend or carer) before you sign anything.
8. Don’t hand over a cash deposit
Avoid handing over money before work is started. A reliable trader will never ask you to do this (even if they need materials). Never agree to go with a trader to the bank to take money out.
9. Think very carefully before you agree to a trader starting any work straight away
If you agree to have any work done or goods delivered within the seven day cooling-off period, you may have to pay if you later change your mind and cancel the contract.
10. Trust your instincts
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
And finally … it’s OK to say no
Remember it’s your doorstep and your decision. If you feel pressured for any reason ask the person to leave.