Welcome to the Trading Standards home page. We are here to protect the interests of both consumers and reputable businesses within the Borough of Stockton-on-Tees. This website is part of our service to local residents and businesses but please feel free to browse this site no matter where you live.
The Trading Standards Service is an important regulatory function of local government. We carry out a wide range of duties with the aim of protecting consumers and reputable businesses. This protection is provided in relation to virtually the full range of personal and household expenditure, from the purchase of daily necessities to the arrangement of a mortgage.
Our work to bring about a safe and fair trading environment, which both informs and empowers consumers and supports reputable and responsible business activity, is essential to the success of the local economy.
Our duties and responsibilities require the investigation of areas of clear criminal activity such as consumer fraud, counterfeiting, intentional and reckless infringement and malpractice operating to the detriment of consumers and reputable traders.
The impact of our work on local communities is considerable. Some of the more obvious benefits are:
- protecting consumers from the supply of substandard, falsely described and unsafe products
- protecting consumers from false or misleading information about goods and services
- protecting reputable businesses from unfair competition
- informing and empowering consumers by providing advice and information on legal rights and remedies.
We aim to provide a Trading Standards Service that is responsive to the needs of the community, uses flexible and proportionate working practices and is committed to a drive for quality, review and continuous improvement.
We have identified five key service priorities:
To Ensure a Safe, Fair and Competitive Trading Environment
- We aim to combat those traders who operate illegally, putting consumers at risk and placing reputable businesses at a trading disadvantage.
To Support Reputable Businesses
- The majority of businesses want to comply with the law and we aim to provide support and advice which is accessible, clear and easy to understand.
To Contribute to Public Health and Wellbeing
- We aim to contribute to a healthy, safe and vibrant community, particularly through our work on tobacco and alcohol controls, age restricted sales and food labelling.
To Protect the Vulnerable
- We are committed to tackling rogue traders, especially those that target older or vulnerable residents in their own home.
To Provide an Effective and Efficient Service
- We will continue to look at ways in which to develop, modernise and improve service provision.
Each year we set key activities and performance targets for the year ahead which address the needs and priorities of the users of the service. These priorities are identified through various methods including consultation surveys, analysis of request for service and results of proactive enforcement work.
Our annual performance targets are outlined in our Service Delivery Plan. To view the plan select the appropriate link below:
On occasions we have to deal with matters that could constitute a criminal offence, for which a range of actions may be taken against an individual, partnership or company. These matters will be investigated thoroughly to establish all the facts and where appropriate Officers will use their legal powers to enter premises, take samples, inspect and copy records, or seize goods and documents. On all occasions we will comply with the Human Rights Act and the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act.
At the end of our investigation a decision will be made whether to deal with the matter informally, or whether to follow a more formal course of action that may ultimately lead to prosecution. How we reach that decision is explained in the Council's Regulatory Services Enforcement Policy.
We jointly fund the Tees Valley Measurement Metrology Laboratory with the other Teesside Authorities. The Centre provides a range of services to businesses. For further information visit the Tees Valley Measurement website.
Underage Sales and Illegal Traders
If you suspect a trader in your area is selling age restricted goods (such as alcohol, tobacco products, DVDs, video games or knives etc.) to people underage, please call 01642 526560 (manned during office hours with a voicemail out-of-hours) or email [email protected]. Our team will investigate your concerns, which may involve carrying out test purchases.
Report an illegal trader
If you require any further assistance with regard to a complaint about a trader after visiting this site please complete our Complain about a trader online form.
The Doorstoppers And No Cold Calling Zones Scheme looks to reduce crime, and the fear of crime arising from doorstep callers, bogus workmen, high pressure salespeople, bogus officials and distraction burglary.
It is now well established that distraction burglaries and rogue trading are interlinked - all too often, the seemingly innocent doorstep seller is actually checking things out for a re-visit to carry out a burglary or distraction burglary.
Whilst this type of criminal behaviour can impact on anybody in any place, research shows that older people are particularly vulnerable, especially those living alone.
No Cold Calling Zones
The aim of these zones is to reduce the number of bogus callers, distraction burglaries and rogue traders operating in your area.
We have a procedure for assessing applications for new zones. This is based on legal advice from the Office of Fair Trading that the additional protection afforded to consumers by the introduction of a zone must be proportionate to any additional burdens this may impose on businesses. This approach has been agreed by Cleveland Police and Neighbourhood Watch.
New zones will be considered in suitable locations (i.e. not to large) with over 50% older or vulnerable residents. The majority of residents must also be in support of the proposal before the scheme can go ahead. A complete list of all current No Cold Calling Zones can be found here.
Consumers can register with a number of preference services to assist householders to stop some direct marketing companies making such contact.
The Mailing Preference Scheme - Telephone: 0845 703 4599
The Telephone Preference Service - Telephone: 0845 070 0707
If you are a BT customer, you can also register with the Telephone Preference Scheme through the BT privacy Service which, in addition will give caller display at no extra charge. This is a free service - Telephone 0800 916 5544 or visit the privacy section of BT website.
Satisfied with our Service?
We try to provide the best possible service at all times. It is so important that customers who use our services tell us how we are doing. They may be compliments, (for instance if you have found a particular service or member of staff helpful), ideas about how we could do things better or you may have a complaint. You can let us know your views by visiting our Commendations, Comments & Complaints section. Whatever your views are we welcome them and will use them to improve our services to communities.
If you require any further assistance on Trading Standards matters after visiting this site please complete our Online Information Request form.