Trading standards for business
Our duty is to create and maintain a safe and fair trading environment where businesses can operate and grow and where customers can engage with confidence.
We enforce legislation controlling the quantity, quality, price, description and safety of most goods and services.
What we do
We work with businesses to drive economic growth and protect residents. To do this we:
- advise and work with local businesses to help comply with legislation
- investigate persistent or criminal activities
- make sure that consumers are treated fairly by traders supplying goods or services
- monitor business activities such as sales of fireworks, cigarettes to children and counterfeit sales
- protect the public from unsafe consumer goods and enforce a range of product safety legislation
- provide advice leaflets
- test purchase or sample goods, foods and services
- visit business premises such as shops and livestock markets to ensure compliance with the laws we enforce
Report a problem
You can report a problem with a trader or product to trading standards by contacting the Citizens Advice consumer helpline below.
Preventing age restricted sales
We offer advice and education to businesses on how to avoid selling age-restricted products to young people.
We can offer free access to the Trading Standards South West (TSSW) online interactive toolkit to help train staff on underage sales prevention.
If you are interested in adopting ‘no proof of age no sale’ you can:
We recommend that business owners adopt the Challenge 25 age verification policy for preventing age restricted goods and services from being supplied to anyone who is underage.
You can find more guidance on the business companion website.
Selling goods by measure
Businesses that sell goods by weight or by other measures must comply with rules designed to help consumers understand how much they are buying.
International standards for weights and measuring equipment make sure that quantity measurements are consistent nationwide.
It is our job to make sure that businesses comply with these rules. We do this by:
- routinely visiting businesses to check weighing and measuring equipment for accuracy
- checking prepacked products at the point of production and in shops
- investigating complaints of short measure
- providing a calibration service for weights up to 20kg, measures up to 20 litres and measures of length in our laboratory
- offering advice to local businesses on weights and measures legislation
Fees and charges
There are fees for using the trading standards services.
Some charges may require VAT. You can check with us before work is undertaken.
A minimum visit charge applies if a visit is made to a premises.
Visits carried out partly or entirely outside of normal office hours may incur a surcharge of 50% of the standard fee or standard hourly rate, per officer per hour.