By: Simon B
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Trading Standards Department
When it comes to common issues surrounding your UK consumer rights, the Trading Standards Department at your local authority offices may be able to help. Its officers are trained to deal with retailers who won’t give you your money back when they’ve sold you something faulty or who try to rip you off. The Trading Standards Officer is the person to help you get what’s rightfully yours if someone is selling fake goods on market stalls or at car boot sales; dangerous toys; second-hand electrical goods; cars that have had their speedometers wound back to look as if they have low mileage; or goods that aren’t as they’re described.
Trading Standards officers also deal with weights and measures and people selling dodgy services, such as cowboy builders. The sale of alcohol or cigarettes to underage customers and loans and credit agreements sold by financial firms licensed under the Consumer Credit Act 1974 are also part of their remit.
If you have a dispute with a retailer or tradesperson and you’ve tried to resolve it but can’t, check out your rights with the Trading Standards Department. You can find contact details under your local authority in your phone book, or the CAB can advise you on how to get in touch.
Traders may be members of trade associations, which are set up to give their members guidelines and to set standards on how they should best treat their customers. Some trade associations have arbitration or a mediation service through which they try to resolve disputes between members and their customers. Gas installers should be members of the Corgi scheme, for example. You can contact Corgi at 0870-401-2300 or visit its Web site at http://www.hse.gov.uk/gas/gas-safe-register-check.htm. Check on the trader’s letterhead, invoices, or advertising materials for trade association logos. You can find contact details by asking the trader you’re dealing with, the CAB, or the Trading Standards Department or by checking www.taforum.org.