Help and Advice
Consumer protection issues are very fast moving, with new areas of loss or harm to consumers sometimes emerging overnight.
In order to make the best use of limited resources, trading standards services have to wait for intelligence to build on a particular issue in their local area before they can take action.
It is essential that consumers report their concerns to the Citizens Advice Consumer Service so that crucial intelligence can reach trading standards.
With staff numbers falling and budgets continuing to shrink, trading standards officers are prioritising those issues where there is greatest evidence of harm.
You can call the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06*.* (Calls are typically charged at between 1p and 10.5p per minute depending on the time of day and telephone provider for landline customers, calls from mobiles may be considerably more.)
Citizens Advice consumer service provides free, confidential and impartial advice on consumer issues.
You can also look and report on www.adviceguide.org.uk
Trading standards is a local authority regulatory service.
Online guidancefor both consumers and business may be available through your local trading standards service's website .
Use the post code search to find your local office. If you use the advertised telephone number you may find you are correctly put through to the Citizens Advice consumer service.
The Trading Standards Institute is a membership and training organisation and as such we are unable to advise.
Information and support for consumers shopping across the EU
Having a problem shopping across borders in Europe?
There are two services delivered by the Trading Standards Institute that may be able to help:
The UK ECC is part of the European Consumer Centre Network, made up of 29 centres throughout Europe. The aim is to provide advice and support to those who are shopping cross-border within the internal market.
They want you to feel as confident when shopping in Europe as you do at home.
In addition they provide Howard - your online shopping assistant.
Before parting with your money on the internet, it’s worth consulting Howard. Howard will research a website for you and help you decide whether to use it.
The European Consumer Centre for Services has been set up to assist consumers to make informed choices when looking to buy services across Europe.
The European Consumer Centre for Services provides general information on consumer laws and rights when buying a service in another EU member state, as well as contact details for organisations that could provide practical assistance in the case of a dispute.
These provide handy advice to help you avoid problems. If something has already gone wrong, there is practical advice to help you.
TSI's Business Companion website provides comprehensive, free guidance for businesses who need to know about trading standards law. This site is sponsored by BIS.