They investigate consumer complaints when they suspect a criminal offence has been committed, this usually involves Trading Standards visiting you or requesting that you attend an interview.
How do you know whether you are having a friendly chat with you local Trading Standards Officer or they are considering prosecuting for a criminal offence?
Trading Standards operated within the rules set out in PACE 1984, or ‘the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984’ which established the law on police powers and is applicable to Trading Standards Officers.
Many of the rules that Trading Standards follow when investigating are contained in ‘Codes of Practice’.
If a Trading Standards Officer suspects that you have committed an offence then you should be cautioned. If you are cautioned then it’s not a friendly chat it is with a view to gaining evidence to prosecute you.
What is the Caution?
“You do not have to say anything. But it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in Court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence.” Code C section 10.
Legislation that Trading Standards enforce
Trading Standards enforce numerous pieces of primary legislation, the most important ones in relation to the Motor Industry being:
The Trade Descriptions Act - ensures that descriptions applied to goods or services are accurate
The Consumer Protection Act - covers the safety of goods and also is designed to ensure prices are not misleading
The Consumer Credit Act - promotes truth in lending
The Weights and Measures Act - ensures we all receive the correct quantity when buying goods