Press releases

Invitation and advance notice for journalists

Monday 12 November, from 10am - Noon: You are invited to attend the launch of National Consumer Week 2007 at the OFT (Fleetbank House, 2-6 Salisbury Square, London EC4 8JX). National representatives of the Trading Standards Institute, Consumer Direct and the OFT online shopping team will be joined by consumer affairs minister Gareth Thomas and local trading standards experts. We will have case studies and examples of products available to illustrate the key messages.

The event will conclude with the TSI Media Awards 2007.

Shopping From Afar? Know What Your Rights Are!

Some 20 million people shopped online last year, spending more than £21 billion - but many of them are in the dark about their rights and the potential pitfalls involved, the Trading Standards Institute and Consumer Direct will warn during National Consumer Week. (12-16 November)

Many of the 62,000-plus UK businesses who trade online are also not clued up about their legal obligations to consumers.

'The findings - from an OFT market study into online shopping - demonstrate the urgent need to improve awareness among shoppers and sellers and to highlight the danger signs', said Ron Gainsford, TSI's chief executive.

The launch event is on Monday, from 10am-noon at the Office of Fair Trading in London, when national representatives of TSI and Consumer Direct will be joined by Gareth Thomas, Under Secretary for Trade and Consumer Affairs, and representatives of local authority trading standards services.

Issues to be spotlighted during the week include:

  • Deadly deal - why consumers should be on their guard when buying cheap unbranded electrical goods online
  • Shopping around for Xmas - how an extra 25 minutes at the keyboard could save you £££
  • Your right to change your mind, without losing a penny - online shoppers' rights explained
  • Booking your UK B&B online - can you trust the website?
  • New European trading standards advice service launched to help consumers with complaints from abroad
  • Catching the Internet rogues - calls for a national enforcement team to crack down on online counterfeiters and dodgy sellers
  • Cars and horses sold online - the dodgy dealers exposed
  • Excellence in consumer journalism rewarded - the TSI media awards 2007

'Our principal message is simple: when buying from afar, know what your rights are!' said Mr Gainsford.

Throughout the country, local authority trading standards services and Consumer Direct will also be hosting a range of local and regional activities and events to mark National Consumer Week.

For the second year, the week runs in partnership with Consumer Direct, the Government-funded telephone and online consumer advice service that works in partnership with local authority trading standards services.

The week will draw especially upon the findings of a major fact-finding inquiry into Internet Shopping, compiled by the Office of Fair Trading over a 14-month period and published in June.

Christine Cryne, Director of Consumer Direct at the Office of Fair Trading, said: 'The internet is a fantastic marketplace for UK shoppers, but consumers could do more to find out about their rights and get themselves a better deal. During the course of the week, we'll be drawing attention to the issues and suggesting some effective online shopping methods.'

A full press pack will be available at the event, including press releases and information about case studies.

For more information, press releases, case studies & interviews and to discuss your requirements at Monday's launch event please contact the TSI press office on 0845 608 9430 or email

The Office of Fair Trading published its fact-finding report into Online Shopping in the summer. The full report can be read by going to

Trading Standards Institute

The Trading Standards Institute has represented the interests of Trading Standards professionals for 120 years. We have a long and proud history of ensuring that the views of our members are well represented at the highest level of government, both nationally and internationally.

Our aim is to promote excellence and enhance the professionalism of our members in support of empowering and informing consumers, encouraging and working with honest businesses, targeting rogue traders and rogue trading practices and contributing to the health, welfare and wellbeing of citizens and communities.

TSI members are engaged in delivering frontline trading standards services in local authorities in response to 2 million consumer and business complaints and enquiries each year. They also support the delivery of new initiatives such as Consumer Direct, providing first point of contact practical consumer advice.

They also work in the business, consumer and central government sectors in promoting and influencing the safety, prosperity and enhancement of individuals and markets with a dependency on effective and professional trading standards contributions and interventions.

Consumer Direct - 08454 04 05 06

Consumer Direct is a Government-funded telephone and online consumer advice service that works in partnership with Local Authority Trading Standards Services. It provides clear, practical and impartial advice and information to help consumers resolve problems and disagreements with suppliers of goods and services. Consumer Direct is available from 0800-1830 Monday to Friday, and 0900-1300 Saturday, excluding bank and public holidays.

Calls cost a maximum of 4p per minute from a BT landline. Calls from mobiles or other networks may vary. Your service provider may charge a minimum cost per call. The advice and information given is free.