How we enforce trading standards
Trading standards protect the interests of local consumers and businesses.
We enforce consumer protection laws by:
- inspecting business premises
- 'mystery shopping' exercises
- undertaking surveys
- dealing with consumer complaints
Advice for local businesses
We can give you friendly, impartial business advice. We provide advice and information to help you follow legislation.
You can also find free, impartial legal advice on the Business Companion website.
What we inspect
We check and test goods to see if they meet safety standards (for example, toys).
We check that food meets specific labelling and compositional requirements.
We check that goods and services descriptions are accurate (for example, second-hand cars).
Weights and measures
We check and test weights, measures and equipment used by traders (for example, shop scales).
We inspect and sample food and non-food products.
If you breach the legislation, we will take appropriate action.
We decide what action to take using our enforcement policy. This is part of the Black Country Regulators Operating Framework.
Black Country Regulators Operating FrameworkDownload PDF (722.11 KB)
We apply this policy and set of service standards across the Black Country. This reduces unfair competition and provides confidence in our businesses.
Our Trading Standards Officers may carry out inspections at your business premises
We may also involve:
- officers of other council services
- police officers
- other relevant professionals, for example experts in particular types of goods
Reasons for inspection
We check whether your business is meeting trading standards legislation.
Some inspections are part of our targeted inspection programme. We also make inspections if we have received a complaint or we suspect a breach of legislation.
We will tell you the reason for the visit.
Our rights to inspect
Officers have the right to enter any premises that are not used solely as private dwellings. It's an offence to stop an officer from entering, and the officer can get an entry warrant.
Officers can inspect and test weighing and measuring equipment and goods.
If they suspect an offence, officers can seize and detain property that they may need as evidence.
They can require you to produce computer information.
They make take photographs or make video recordings.
What you can expect from officers
Our officers should:
- be courteous
- show identification
- tell you the purpose of their visit
- give you a list of any items they seize
- tell you the results of any tests they carry out
- explain their findings
- tell you about the appeals procedure against decisions, and how to claim compensation if appropriate
After the inspection
If we find a breach of legislation, we will use the enforcement policy to decide what action to take.
No issues or minor issues
If we find nothing wrong, or any minor issues, we will let you know and tell you what to do to comply. This advice is sometimes written in a Traders Notice. We will make it clear what is legally required and what is advice on best practice.
Safety legislation breaches
If we find a breach of safety legislation we may issue a suspension notice. This prohibits the movement of specified goods for a period of six months.
More serious breaches
If we find more serious breaches we may consider legal proceedings. We'll interview a representative of your business and carry out a full investigation. We will then decide on the most appropriate course of action.
Compliments, comments and complaints
You can make a compliment, comment or complaint online.
We will try to resolve your complaint. If you are not satisfied, you can ask for details to submit a formal complaint to the local authority.