Consumer Advice and Information
We have guidance available on a wide range of consumer related problem areas and consumer protection issues.
For further information please visit our Consumer Advice Self-help Advice Sheets.
Trading Standards Advice Service
The Trading Standards Advice Service is located within the Customer Service Centre at Stockton Library on Church Road, Stockton-On-Tees. Each year the Service deals with hundreds of complaints and enquiries.
The Advice Service operates via an appointment system.
If you wish to speak to an Advisor in person please make an appointment by calling 01642 526560.
If you require immediate advice over the telephone please call 01642 527939 or 08082 231133.
Our Advisors provide advice on consumer issues arising from the supply of faulty goods and services.
If you have a complaint, officers will advise you on your legal rights and the best way for you to resolve your problem. The Advice Service is provided free of charge to residents and businesses within the borough of Stockton-on-Tees.
Our Advisors can:
- Give impartial advise on the law and your rights;
- Suggest appropriate courses of action;
- Advise you how to pursue your rights;
- Advise on court procedure;
- Pass on information to our Enforcement Team if criminal law has been contravened and it is appropriate to do so.
Our Advisors cannot:
- Close businesses down;
- Automatically obtain a refund for you;
- Recommend a business to you;
- Tell you which businesses to avoid.
New Consumer Law
From 1 October 2015, a new piece of legislation came into force. The Consumer Rights Act 2015 replaced many of the existing Acts covering purchases of goods and services and for the first time introduced rules to protect consumers when they buy digital products, apps or anything that is streamed.
The major changes include:
- A right to a refund within 30 days if you buy something that is faulty - Previously the law wasn't completely clear as consumers had a “reasonable” length of time to ask for a refund. Now if goods are faulty within the first 30 days you can reject and ask for a full refund. The consumer has to prove that the fault is one of manufacture and you cannot have accepted the goods, so you should not have altered or used the goods for anything other than examination purposes. Previously the law wasn't clear.
- New rules for faults occurring within 6 months of purchase - During the first six months if you are prepared to accept an initial repair the burden of proof lies with the trader to show it is not a fault of manufacture and if the first repair fails you can ask for a refund. For all goods other than motor vehicles you are entitled to a full refund. For motor vehicles the seller can deduct an amount for use. You may also want to keep the goods and have a deduction in the price or accept replacements.
- Clear timescales for certain actions - After six months you still have rights and they can last for up to six years from purchase. Delivery of goods should be within 30 days unless you have agreed a longer time. Crucially, once a trader agrees to refund you should receive it within 14 days.
- Extended rules for services - Services are covered and include a new right that anything said or written to the consumer by or on behalf of the company becomes a term of the contract. Services which are not carried out correctly should be repeated or a price reduction should apply.
- New rules for digital products - Digital content now has its own set of rules giving rights to repair or replacement but there is no limit on how many times this can happen.
- Unfair trading - The Act also has sections to stop businesses trading unfairly. Companies will not be able to enforce unfair terms.
For further details on the new rules please email [email protected].
Trading Standards Guidance Notes and Leaflets
Visit our Trading Standards guidance notes and leaflets page for information on consumer advice, business advice as well as product safety warnings.
Stop Loan Sharks
Loan sharks are illegal moneylenders who often charge very high interest rates. If you spot a loan shark or you’ve borrowed money from one you can report them anonymously. For further information on this service please visit the Gov.uk website.