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Trading Standards business advice

We work in North Ayrshire to:

  • regulate trade activities
  • promote business growth
  • strengthen economic recovery

We ensure that local businesses have a chance to develop through fair and legal competition in local, national, and world markets. We carry out visits and inspections to businesses across North Ayrshire to ensure they are trading fairly.

We provide free, confidential advice to local businesses regarding legislation. For regular updates, tailored to your business, please contact us. 

Whether you're thinking about setting up a new business, or are an experienced business owner, we provide guidance on the following, that may affect how your business operates:

Product safety

Under the Consumer Protection Act 1987, all products sold or supplied by a business must be safe to use for their intended purpose and users. Warnings or instructions accompanying the goods should be appropriate and proportionate to the dangers posed.

We inspect and test consumer goods for safety and ensure they comply with European and UK legislation.

The producer of a defective product is liable for any damage it causes. The producer is generally the manufacturer of a product however distributors, for example wholesalers also have legal responsibilities for the safety of a product.

To ensure the safety of your products, manufacturers should:

  • make sure their products comply with the latest safety standards
  • carry out appropriate testing and assessment of their products and the information supplied with them
  • monitor the performance of their products in use and act on feedback from consumers

The UK Government provides information on Product Safety for Manufacturers and Product Liability and Safety Law.

Competing fairly

Under the Competition Act, anti-competitive agreements between businesses are illegal. For example, it is against the law to fix high prices or abuse your market position.

To make sure you aren't breaking the law, visit the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

Fair trading

Under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, all businesses in North Ayrshire should trade fairly. This means you have a duty to act 'in a manner consistent with reasonable expectations of the average consumer'. If your business doesn't comply with fair trading regulations you could be investigated, prosecuted or fined.

Many specific trading practices are banned outright including:

  • high pressure selling
  • not leaving a consumers home when asked to do so
  • misleading marketing such as fake closing down sales
  • unfair pricing
  • false product descriptions

This protects consumers so they can make free and informed buying decisions.

Distance selling

Traders who sell goods or services over the internet, by telephone or mail order are subject to The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013. For more information visit Online and Distance Selling for businesses.

Trade descriptions

Traders must not mislead customers about the product or service they are buying. False trade descriptions on websites, adverts, flyers, posters or packaging are illegal. The products you sell must be as described, of satisfactory quality and fit for purpose.

The Trading Standards Institute's Business Companion website provides free guidance about trading standards law.

Weights and measures

Trading Standards Officers, as Inspectors of Weights and Measures, are responsible for checking all weighing and measuring equipment used for trade. We ensure that weighing and measuring equipment used for trade is accurate to prevent the sale of goods by short measure or weight. This includes shop scales, weighbridges, petrol pumps, pub measures etc. Tests of equipment are carried out during routine inspections of premises.

Weights and measures fees

Liquid fuel measuring instruments:

  • first meter tested: £113.33 + £22.67 VAT = £136
  • additional meter tested during same visit: £70 + £14 VAT = £84 per meter

All other weighing and measuring equipment:

  • one officer on site: £61.25 + £12.25 VAT = £73.50 per hour
  • 2, or more, officers required on site: £97.92 + £19.58 = £117.50 per hour

Notes on weights and measure fees: Hourly rate will include travel time. Minimum charge will be one hour; thereafter fees will be charged by the half hour. VAT will not be added to any work completed under the Measuring Instruments (EEC Requirements) Regulations 1988.

Contact Trading Standards

Email

tradingstandards@north-ayrshire.gov.uk

Telephone

01294 310100