Q – A customer has told me their complaint has been referred to Trading Standards and have quoted a reference number – should I worry?
A. – No. Definitely not. Only if we at Lawgistics tell you to worry should you do so!
Seriously though, don’t be intimidated at all. Almost certainly your customer will have telephoned the Consumer Advice helpline. This is not even run by Trading Standards but by the Citizens’ Advice Bureau (CAB) whose staff are unlikely to be legally qualified in consumer law. The arrangement is that each and every call taken via the Consumer Advice helpline must be sent to Trading Standards for their information. So, the Trading Standards authority (usually a local council) nearest to where your customer lives AND the one nearest to where you trade have to be automatically notified of the call shortly afterwards. The reference number quoted is automatically generated during the call.
Trading Standards are therefore automatically notified regardless of merit of the “complaint” and as such you ought not to worry. They may monitor complaint numbers but only occasionally will they directly involve themselves in disputes.
The writer often suggests, in these circumstances, to invite the customer to state the name and contact details of the Trading Standards Officer they spoke with so that you too can contact them to discuss. This inevitably results in a response from the consumer that is in stark contrast to the initial bluff and bluster communication that they sent you!