Trading Standards investigations are usually conducted under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. A conviction in most serious cases can lead to substantial fines and even custodial sentences.
Officers investigating on behalf of the agency are not only interested in the goods and services, they also investigate any unfair commercial practices. Investigations can arise from routine checks however they are usually commenced following a consumer complaint. When considering whether an offence has been committed the trading standards officers will look at the following areas which are all covered under the relevant legislation:
- Consumer Rights
- Faulty workmanship
- Counterfeit Goods or trademark infringement
- Distance selling regulations
- Weights and Measures
- Food Safety
- Animal Welfare
- The Sale of Age-Restricted Products
- Fair Trading
- Labelling and Descriptions
Trading Standards Powers
Trading Standards Officers investigating offences have a number of wide-ranging powers. It is commonly known that officers will attend businesses posing as customers and make test purchases. Any purchases made can then be used for testing purposes which will be ultimately used as evidence if a prosecution is ever brought.
Although officers cannot arrest an individual, they can however request assistance from the Police who can make the arrest. The individual can also then be requested to attend a suitable venue for the officers to conduct an interview under caution.