Trading Standards Investigations
Trading standards investigations often involve undergoing incredibly tense processes, which can have an adverse effect on your business dealings and operations. Thankfully, our solicitors have plenty of experience in handling trading standards investigations and can help you to respond appropriately to an investigation, to protect the company you’ve built, and safeguard your reputation. Our expert solicitors at Nelson Guest & Partners can support your business to comply with trading standards laws, to prevent trading law breaches that could compromise the success of your company.
Trading standards operate to investigate companies that have been trading unethically or have failed to follow trading standard laws. An investigation can cover many different trading breaches including age-restricted products, licensing, mis-description of products, high-pressured sales, counterfeit goods, or mis-labelling of products.
Our expertise in trading standards investigations matters includes:
- Legal support to comply with trading standards laws
- Assistance to respond to a trading standards investigation
- Discussing matters with trading standards on your behalf
- Support to prepare for trading standards interviews
Get in touch with our trading standards investigations solicitors
Our solicitors can expert provide legal advice, supporting your company to comply with trading standards laws. If you’re facing a trading standards investigation and you need legal assistance, we can offer the representation and guidance required.
Navigating this page
- How long do trading standards investigations take?
- What is the trading standards investigations process?
- What powers do trading standards have?
- When will trading standards investigate a business?
- What happens after a trading standards inspection?
- What will trading standards do if they uncover a breach?
How long do trading standards investigations take?
How long it takes to carry out an investigation depends on the type of breach that’s suspected or has already taken place. On average, a typical investigation should take approximately 12 weeks, potentially less.
What is the trading standards investigations process?
Trading standards are likely to visit the company premises, to check for suspected non-compliance issues. They tend to follow an intelligence-led process, making decisions based on the assessment of many different areas, for example, reviewing the history of the company, and any complaints.
During a trading standards inspection, the trading standards officers may seize goods or documentation as evidence or ban the company from continuing to sell specific products. Other tasks that may be carried out as part of the investigation process include:
- Conducting trading law tests (these tests may be covert if trading standards judge this to be appropriate).
- Use similar procedures to the police to investigate criminal wrongdoing.
- Prosecute companies or individuals.
- Carrying out interviews with staff members.
- Take photographs to be used for evidence purposes.
- Seizing products or company documents.
- Testing installations, equipment and goods.
What powers do trading standards have?
Trading standards officers are permitted to enter a business premises and proceed to carry out an inspection to check compliance with trading standards laws. The officers are able to seize any documents or materials that they may require as evidence, according to the Consumer Rights Act 2015.
To conduct a routine trading standards inspection, the organisation must provide you with at least two-day’s notice. However, if trading standards suspect that the business is putting customers at risk, or that the law has been broken, they have the power to enter the premises, without prior warning.
When will trading standards investigate a business?
Trading Standards may investigate a business under many different circumstances. For example, if a complaint has been made against the business that indicates trading standards laws may have been broken. Trading Standards may conduct an inspection if any of the following circumstances are present:
- Breaches that pose a risk to customer health and wellbeing.
- Breaches of animal health and welfare laws, for instance, breaches that could cause a disease outbreak.
- The business has failed to adhere to a statutory notice.
- There has been a complaint which accuses the business of criminal activity.
What happens after a trading standards inspection?
If the trading standards officer does not find any issues, they will inform the business, and confirm that no further action will be taken. If a trading standards breach is uncovered, your business may undergo a trading standards prosecution, depending on the nature of the breach. At this stage, it is crucial that the individual or business in question seeks the advice of a solicitor.
What will trading standards do if they uncover a breach?
If a trading standards inspection uncovers a breach, they may serve a fixed-penalty notice, or a caution. If the trading breach relates to an issue of licensing, for instance, the business has been selling age-restricted items to teenagers, trading standards may decide to prosecute the business, or revoke their license.
How our trading standards investigations solicitors can help
Legal support to comply with trading standards laws
Our specialist solicitors can support your business to comply with trading standards laws, to lessen the likelihood of a trading standards breach. Nelson Guest & Partners can support you to conduct an audit of your processes and systems, to ensure that you’ve done everything required to comply with trading standards laws and avoid a trading standards prosecution.
Our solicitors can provide your business with trading law advice in relation to many different trading matters, to include:
- Product recalls related to product safety concerns
- Copyright related matters
- Advice on consumer protection legislation
- The sale of restricted goods
- The misrepresentation of goods and products
- Production order matters
Assistance to respond to a trading standards investigation
If your company is under investigation, we can help you to plan the most appropriate response to safeguard your company, and ensure your legal rights.
Our expert legal team will attempt to prevent inspections escalating, supporting you to avoid criminal or civil proceedings where possible. Our team can do so by offering pragmatic advice to help you respond, and negotiating early resolutions with the trading standards officer, where possible. To discuss the support you need from our legal team, get in touch with our solicitors in London.
Discussing matters with trading standards on your behalf
When trading standards open an inspection, many businesses are unsure of how to best proceed. Representing yourself in any negotiation process without legal support is not advisable. Trading standards prosecutions can be serious and can even result in prison sentences.
At Nelson Guest & Partners we have plenty of experience discussing trading standards inspections on behalf of companies. We can help to best communicate your legal position and ensure the most favourable outcome possible.
Our solicitors will first seek to understand every detail about the suspected trade breach, and the associated circumstances. We appreciate the individual nature of these cases and will ensure that we take the most appropriate course of action for your business.
Support to prepare for trading standards interviews
As part of an investigation, individuals and businesses may be required to attend an interview with Trading Standards. Our solicitors at Nelson Guest & Partners have supported businesses of all different types to prepare for such interviews, and present their legal position.
Our lawyers are able to attend such interviews with you and ensure that the interview is conducted fairly. It’s vital that your business has the right support at every stage of the process to defend you and negotiate the best outcome.
Get in touch with our trading standards investigations solicitors
Our solicitors can provide expert legal advice, supporting your company to comply with trading standards laws. If you’re facing a trading standards investigation and you need legal assistance, we can offer the representation and guidance required.