Fair Trading

We work to ensure a fair trading environment for both consumers and businesses. Some complaints we receive are investigated in accordance with our Enforcement Policy (PDF, 292KB)

The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 provide consumers with a 14 day cooling-off period for:

  • distance contracts. For example, those made via the internet
  • off-premises contracts. For example, those made in your home.

They also require certain information to be given to you, not only for off-premises and distance contracts but also where you make an agreement on a trader's business premises. Traders cannot make hidden charges. Additional charges can only be made with your express agreement.

Where a trader supplies a service, they owe a duty of care to you and to others who might be affected by their work. If their work is substandard, the duty of care may be breached and the person who suffers a loss may be able to make a claim. This applies even where there is not direct contract between the parties, for example, where the claim is made by one of your friends or relatives, or where the trader is a subcontractor who is not working directly for you. The duty of care is similar to the standard of "reasonable care and skill" and it applies to the standard of work rather than guaranteeing a particular outcome.

Descriptions for goods and services

We check the accuracy of statements made by traders which could mislead you into buying goods and services which you otherwise wouldn’t have purchased. We do this through responding to consumer complaints, receiving intelligence, routine inspections and project work.


We ensure that all goods sold at retail have a price indication and that offers are genuine and not misleading.

Counterfeit goods

Trade in counterfeit goods has a major effect on commercial and economic stability. We enforce legislation which protects the Intellectual Property rights of legitimate businesses. Intellectual Property covers Trade Marks, Copyright, Designs & Patents and Fraud.

The UK Intellectual Property Office gives advice on how to protect your Intellectual Property. If you believe that someone is selling a counterfeit product, report it to us.


We enforce the Hallmarking Act 1973 which requires most goods made with precious metals to be genuinely hallmarked and that sellers of such goods to display a notice detailing the marks on trade premises. Further information can be found at the following:

Estate agency

We enforce and advise on legislation that governs Estate Agents, namely under the Estate Agents Act 1979 and the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 which ensures properties are fairly marketed. We also have a duty to advise and enforce the Energy Performance Certificates Regulations where necessary. It is also a requirement that an Estate Agent belongs to an approved redress scheme.

Package tours and holidays

There are specific requirements for certain information to be given to consumers. Money taken by providers of holiday packages must be secured and protected from insolvency. For further information please click the links provided below:

Failure to register use of CCTV equipment.

Failure to register use of CCTV equipment can lead to prosecution by the Information Commissioner’s Office. The Trading Standards Service has recently received this important message from the Information Commissioner’s Office.

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has re-iterated its warning to businesses to register use of CCTV equipment at their premises following prosecution of a bar owner who failed to do so. A Lancashire bar owner was recently prosecuted by the ICO for failing to register his premises' use of CCTV despite several reminder letters from the ICO. The operator was fined £100 and ordered to pay £250 prosecution costs by Blackpool Magistrates along with an additional £15 victim surcharge. Licensee should be aware that under the Data Protection Act notification is a legal requirement for organisations processing and collecting CCTV images. Therefore it is important that businesses who operate CCTV equipment notify the ICO, as failure to notify is a criminal offence. More information on the requirement to notify the ICO.

For more business advice, free impartial legal guidance for businesses, visit the business companion website.