Trading Standards not fit for purpose?

legal updates

More examples of what we consider to be disproportionate behaviour, completely stupid questions being put to clients.

Read our disclaimer keyboard_arrow_down

This website content is intended as a general guide to law as it applies to the motor trade. Lawgistics has taken every effort to ensure that the contents are as accurate and up to date as at the date of first publication.

The laws and opinions expressed within this website may be varied as the law develops. As such we cannot accept liability for or the consequence of, any change of law, or official guidelines since publication or any misuse of the information provided.

The opinions in this website are based upon the experience of the authors and it must be recognised that only the courts and recognised tribunals can interpret the law with authority.

Examples given within the website are based on the experience of the authors and centre upon issues that commonly give rise to disputes. Each situation in practice will be different and may comprise several points commented upon.

If you have any doubt about the correct legal position you should seek further legal advice from Lawgistics or a suitably qualified solicitor. We cannot accept liability for your failure to take professional advice where it should reasonably be sought by a prudent person.

All characters are fictitious and should not be taken as referring to any person living or dead.

Use of this website shall be considered acceptance of the terms of the disclaimer presented above.

Recent events with Trading Standards officers the length and breadth of the UK lead to us question whether they are themselves no longer of “satisfactory quality” or “fit for purpose”. 

For we are seeing more and more examples of what we consider to be disproportionate behaviour, completely stupid questions being put to clients, outrageous comments made to a consumer about a client and general incompetence.  

Case study 1

Our client has an unblemished trading record.  One vehicle ended up being sold with the incorrect mileage shown.  A disclaimer was present and as soon as our client was made aware of the mileage discrepancy he refunded the customer.  Client agreed to  Trading Standards’ offer that his company sign a caution.  HOWEVER, Trading Standards decided that they want to prosecute.  They seemingly took exception to Lawgistics pointing out that they completely messed up their interview.  For when being interviewed the only Director was questioned in both his personal capacity and on behalf of the company in the same interview.  This is forbidden because it cannot be established whether the answers are given in a personal capacity or on behalf of the company and as such all answers are inadmissible as evidence.

It seems Trading Standards want the Director to agree to the caution in a personal capacity as well as the company and will not accept a caution from the company in isolation.  Seems to us that they have not considered the question as to whether it is in the public interest to prosecute and should the matter go to court the officer’s own conduct of the interview process is likely to be subject to stern examination.

Case study 2

These are 4 questions that Trading Standards Officers have recently asked, in writing, to our clients.  We think they are pretty stupid but see what you think:

a.    “What consideration is given to the vehicles when you purchase them?”

b.    “Can you describe your educational background”?

c.    “Did you tell the customer before she bought the car that the previous owner had hired out the car 36 times”?  (And if not why not?!)

HowdenCompetitive, comprehensive, quick

One of the largest independent specialist motor trade brokers in the UK. Our extensive history of supplying insurance to the motor trade means we understand your business needs. By partnering with a specialist insurance broker like us, you get exactly what you need to protect your business.

d.    “The consumer tells us that had she known about the history of this vehicle she would not have bought it. What do you have to say about that?”

Case study 3

A formal complaint has been made to one Council whose Trading Standards Officer seized a load of documents from our client with a view to determining whether offences had been committed.  Rather than being impartial as Trading Standards proclaim they are, this officer wrote to the consumer on the day after his visit to our client to say (amongst other things):

“There are, I believe, some major issues with the garage”.
“You may have difficulty in enforcing a county court judgment” – not that the case has been anywhere near the court.
“the garage will not refund you and made up some nonsense about the car being misused” – Trading Standards Officer, Judge, Jury and, no doubt, Chief Executor all rolled into one!
“The garage will not be able to sell any of its cars for at least a week as I have all the documents” – almost gloating that he is restricting our client’s operations for so long.

So far this Council have said they cannot investigate our complaint in case it interferes with the legal process.  Perhaps they should firstly consider whether their officer’s prejudicial and biased comments impact on the legal process.

In conclusion it is unfortunate that traders cannot reject defective Trading Standards Officers in the same way that they seemingly tell customers to reject vehicles.  Lawgistics will fight back for you though don’t you worry about that! Lawgistics members can get assistance with Trading Standards issues.

Jason WilliamsLegal AdvisorRead More by this author

Related Legal Updates

Deposit and Fair Contractual Terms

Explore the intricacies of contract commitments and the bounds of consumer rights in our latest analysis, where a £3000 deposit dispute underscores the significance of clear terms and buyer responsibilities.

Maintaining professionalism in customer disputes

Your emails may be presented to a judge for review to help decide on how you have handled the matter before the court’s involvement.

Assist your consumer… before it’s too late

If a consumer is ignored or refused assistance by you, and a repair is carried out, you will no longer be able to inspect the failed component.

What? You want me to pay after nearly 6 years?

After 5 years, 8 months, and 41,000 miles, there was a problem with the vehicle, and it ultimately required a new engine costing £4,600.

Consequential Losses

General stress and anxiety is not recoverable, otherwise everybody would claim it, similarly the time spent in dealing with a claim is generally not recoverable.

Car sold with a fault

Ensure the consumer is aware, understands, and most importantly, accepts the vehicle is subject to fault.

What you pay for is what you get

The consumer presented our member with the bill because they wrongly thought they had the right to do what they wanted.

Get in touch

Complete the form to get in touch or via our details below:

01480 455500

Vinpenta House
High Causeway

By submitting this quote you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy & Cookies Policy.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.