We have a wide-ranging role safeguarding the interests of both consumers and the business community. This helps to provide a level playing field and fair competition for those in business whilst allowing consumers to have confidence in the local economy.
The London Borough of Brent provides the Trading Standards Service for both Brent and Harrow Councils on a joint consortium basis which has been in existence for over 50 years. This allows us to share information on businesses and trading practices across neighbouring boroughs, permits a share of knowledge and specialisms and provides financial savings for each borough.
Our duties include investigating consumer complaints made about businesses, offering help and advice to traders regarding consumer law and if necessary, taking formal action against those who do not comply.
The laws we are responsible for enforcing cover a wide area which includes:
- product safety
- descriptions of goods and services
- preventing underage sales
- rogue trading and scams
- weights and measures
- counterfeit goods
- the supply of tobacco products
- illegal money lending
We receive thousands of complaints and enquiries every year so we need to prioritise the most serious cases and use the others to help us to plan our prevention work as we are not able to investigate every complaint individually.
We look at a number of issues to help us to decide which cases we investigate. For example the:
- amount of money involved and number of customers or businesses affected
- vulnerability of the victim
- risk to public safety
- failure to comply with a statutory notice, written advice or other formal commitment to comply with the law
- complaints that relate to organised criminal activity such as doorstep crime, scams, fraud
We also need to be sure that we can get enough evidence to use in court and that the investigation would be in the public interest.
We provide wide ranging advice to businesses; inspect various types of businesses to ensure they’re trading fairly, based on risk ratings and intelligence gathered from a variety of sources.
We are also ready to respond rapidly to emerging situations, such as rogue traders and doorstep crime. If we find a problem, there are various options open for us to take, such as offering advice and a timescale for a trader to come into compliance with the law, confiscating illegal goods, or launching criminal proceedings.