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How to make a complaint to Trading Standards

How to make a complaint to Trading Standards
Image source: Getty Images


Moaning about shoddy products and bad service can be very cathartic. But on occasion, you might feel the need to make a formal complaint.

If you do, here’s everything you need to know about how to make a complaint to Trading Standards.

What complaints can I make to Trading Standards?

Trading Standards is there to ensure businesses are trading within the law. If a firm isn’t doing this, they can be taken to court or told to stop trading.

Some of the most common reasons for reporting a business to Trading Standards relate to physical products, services, and your right to fair service. For example, you can make a complaint if:

  • A product is counterfeit
  • You’ve been sold an item that is potentially dangerous – like incorrectly wired electronics
  • Something you’ve bought isn’t as advertised – for instance, if it’s failed to deliver what was promised
  • A business has put undue pressure on you to buy something
  • You’ve been a victim of a scam and not received the item you bought
  • A company is selling age restricted items without asking people who look underage for identification
  • A firm has failed to carry out work properly – such as leaving a property extension unfinished or leaving your home unsafe.

How do I make a complaint to Trading Standards?

There are two routes to making a Trading Standards complaint. You can either:

  • Visit Citizen’s Advice – you can fill in an online form or contact an advisor.
  • Find your local Trading Standards office – simply enter your postcode into the Chartered Trading Standards Institute’s search engine. Teams are usually part of your local or country council.

It’s worth noting that using the Trading Standards search engine to find your local office might take you to a relevant page on your council website but it might redirect you to Citizen’s Advice. It’s a convoluted way of doing things, but essentially, Citizen’s Advice acts as a gatekeeper, funnelling all complaints through their systems.

The only benefit you might get from searching for your local office, is an alternative means of communicating with the team. For example, my search for Suffolk Trading Standards, gave me a Facebook page and a Twitter handle (and we all know how effective a Twitter moan can be).

What happens after I make a Trading Standards complaint?

As far as you’re concerned, not a lot. Trading Standards will use the information you provide and decide whether they need to investigate. You’ll only be contacted is if the investigating team needs further information.

How can I protect my consumer rights?

If you’re making big purchases (costing between £100 and £30,000), using a credit card can offer you protection for faulty or damaged goods. To discover the best cards, take a look at our top credit cards for 2020.

Alternatively, you can make a complaint to an official trade body if a business you’ve used belongs to one. A trade association may be able to give you some practical next steps or even review a business’s membership.

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