Trading Standards Legislation
As councils are local authorities, they are able to enforce several trading standards based legislation to prevent rogue traders and unfair businesses in their local community. Legislation that affects trade standards departments include:
- The Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982
- The Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977
- The Misrepresentation Act 1967
- The Trade Marks Act 1994
Councils will enforce these various laws to safeguard against any illegal or ‘unfair’ businesses from blossoming in their community. They will also offer their support and advice to legitimate businesses in the community that are struggling to get the attention of consumers. It is important to note that different part of the UK have different laws i.e. England and Wales have slightly different laws than Scotland.
In terms of policy, trading standards will assist in the classification of a number of issues, the Weights and Measures Legislation being of most notability making sure that all weighing and measuring equipment used for trade is accurate. Each local council appoints an inspector to assess all premises which use any weighing or measuring equipment. These can range from a small bakery utilising food weight scales or local pub spirit measures to petrol stations and weighbridges. Trading standards also investigate complaints where consumers have claimed to have been “short measured” or where inaccurate equipment is used. During these visits, packages are checked, equipment tested and quality systems audited. Trading standards instruct and assist businesses and traders across the UK to make sure that they abide by Weights and Measures legislation.
Trading standards has also implemented a public health policy with a particular focused initiative tackling issues of smoking, alcohol and obesity.