Fair trading

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Doorstep crime

We have set up no 'cold calling zones' under the national 'Doorstoppers' scheme in areas where more vulnerable consumers, such as the elderly, live. These prevent traders making unsolicited house visits as vulnerable consumers are more likely to feel intimidated into signing contracts for products and services they do not want or need.

We also arrange regular 'Doorstoppers' events to educate consumers about doorstep crime. These include talks and displays - for more information or to book an event, contact us on 01332 641333.

Counterfeit goods

This is a very serious offence. We carry out inspections, seize goods, exercise search warrants and investigate complaints about items ranging from DVDs and video games through to alcohol and tobacco.

Consumer credit

Many consumers now use various forms of credit to purchase goods and services, such as credit cards, loans and hire purchase.

Any trader who provides credit, refers consumers to a source of credit, or gives advice to consumers relating to credit must hold a credit license. The Office of Fair Trading consult us on all consumer credit licence applications and we make sure the trader is suitable to hold one.

We investigate consumer complaints and take legal action or withdraw credit licenses following criminal offences.

Internet sales

It is now common for many traders to sell their products and services through the internet. In this case, there are certain details and rights they must inform consumers of before entering into an agreement with them.  We review the terms and conditions of these to make sure they are fair and clear.

We also investigate complaints about unavailable or unfair terms and conditions. Action can be taken to have unclear or unfair terms and conditions amended or to have terms and conditions made available to the consumer.

Consumer complaints

The Citizens Advice consumer service provides free, confidential and impartial advice on consumer issues. Visit the Advice Guide webpages or call the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06.