Looking for Consumer Help and Advice?
Contact Trading Standards
Need to get in touch with your Local Trading Standards office or department? Enter your postcode to see their details.
Find an 'Approved Code' Business
Companies signed-up to CTSI's 'Consumer Codes Approval Scheme' (CCAS) put customer care at the heart of their business.
Problems Buying Abroad?
If you have an issue buying goods or services from abroad - or when on holiday - the UKICC provides free help and advice.
Welcome to CTSI's Consumer Hub. If you’re a UK consumer looking for advice on a Problem Purchase - from a company based in the UK or abroad, need the contact details of your Local Trading Standards Office, want to find a Trustworthy Business, or learn a little bit about UK Consumer Protection, the information on this page should help. Please read on, or click on the following titles to jump to the relevant section.
Contact your local Trading Standards office
PLEASE NOTE: In many areas of the UK, Trading Standards resources are now increasingly limited as a result of funding cutbacks. So, please respect the time and expertise of the staff you contact – and do what you can to help them help you and other vulnerable members of your local community. Thank you.
Help with a problem purchase
From a business based in the UK
If you've experienced problems buying from a shop, dealing with a trader or doing business with any other company based in the UK, click here
From a business based abroad
If you've had issues with flights or holidays booked with a non-UK provider, purchased items from an online retailer based abroad, or if you want advice on what to look out for when dealing with companies based outside of the UK, click here
Looking for an Approved Code business?
Check that a business you're thinking of dealing with is part of CTSI's Consumer Codes Approval Scheme. As a consumer, this gives you extra peace-of-mind by guaranteeing exceptional customer service, no 'hard-sell' tactics and the very best after-sales service.
Other consumer information
As the national body, representing the UK’s Trading Standards profession, the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) operates at the heart of what can seem like a dauntingly complex and confusing array of organisations all dedicated to helping UK consumers. While we can't provide direct consumer advice ourselves, our aim is to point you in the direction of those who can (many of whom are our members or are affiliated organisations). Please let us know if there’s anything you think we should add or expand on: contact the CTSI Consumer Hub
Purchased from a UK-based company?
If you have a problem with something bought from a company based in the UK, you should report the matter to one of the following organisations (depending on where you live):
Depending on the individual case, the service may direct you to a local consumer service (such as your local Citizen’s Advice branch) or report this matter to your Local Trading Standards Team to investigate further. Phone lines are open during normal office hours but please check the relevant website for details and call charges.
England and Wales: Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline
Call: 0808 223 1133
Purchased from a non-UK based company?
- Had a problem with a business based outside the UK (e.g. an online retailer located in an EU country or elsewhere in the world)?
- Had a problem with something you brought whilst abroad?
- Had a problem with a flight or holiday booked with a business outside the UK?
- Thinking of buying from abroad and want help avoiding any problems?
The UK International Consumer Centre (UKICC) offers FREE advice and support to UK consumers who have a problem with a business based in another country.
The UKICC is based in the UK, and its friendly advisers can usually be contacted by phone or email. Unfortunately, due to the build-up of a significant backlog, the telephone service is currently suspended, and the team can only be reached by email or through its website at www.ukecc.net. Please also be aware that because of the backlog of cases, there can be some delay in getting back to you, but the team will do its best to make the process as quick as it can. More information is available at www.ukecc.net
What is the UKICC and how can it help?
- They can provide legal and practical advice to help resolve your problem.
- They have relationships with many partner organisations outside the UK. And, where our advice has not been enough to resolve an issue, in some instances, we may be able to provide further support up to and including contacting the trader on your behalf.
- They can also give advice on how to avoid a problem when buying from abroad.
There are many organisations dedicated to helping British consumers, promoting good business practices, and enforcing trading standards. If you encounter issues with something you have purchased, in this country or abroad, they should be able to help.
- Citizen's Advice (England and Wales)
- Consumer Advice Scotland
- Consumerline (Northern Ireland)
- UK International Consumer Centre (UKICC)
Citizen’s Advice caters to people in England and Wales. They provide a wealth of useful information and advice on their website, and also run the Citizen’s Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133 – where trained advisers can give you advice over the phone, or via their Online Form. It's worth remembering that Citizen's Advice staff are often volunteers - either members of the public with a particular interest in Consumer Protection, or professionals giving their time for free. Generally, the best results come from being patient and helping them to help you.
Consumer Advice Scotland is funded by the Scottish Government. You can access their range of services by calling 0808 800 9060, or using the live chat service on their website.
Consumerline is a one-stop-shop, offering free consumer help and advice to people based in Northern Ireland. Consumerline helps consumers avoid scams, dodgy deals, to make a complaint and stay informed with consumer law in Northern Ireland.
UK International Consumer Centre (UKICC)
The UKICC helps consumers when they have experienced issues purchasing goods and services from abroad (where the company is based outside the UK). Their service is similar to Citizen's Advice but for British consumers who have made a purchase abroad and, having encountered problems, don't know where to turn.
Consumer rights is a division of Which? and provides up-to-date information on your consumer rights and offers a wealth of solutions to consumers' problems.
Age UK offers specific support to elderly people and their carers/relatives. They provide a free advice line on 0800 678 1602 (lines are open 8am-7pm, 365 days a year). They also have specialist advisers at a number of local Age UK branches - check their website for details.
CTSI’s role in UK consumer protection
Protecting consumers sits at the very heart of CTSI’s work. In addition to being the professional body representing British trading standards professionals, we run a number of national programmes and initiatives aimed at advising, supporting and protecting consumers.
- Trading Standards Professionals
- UK International Consumer Centre (UKICC)
- Consumer Codes Approval Scheme (CCAS)
- Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
Trading Standards Professionals
Founded in 1881, CTSI is the official membership body for trading standards professionals in the UK. Trading Standards has a critical role to play in protecting consumers and preventing harms. This might be to ensure consumers pay a fair price and get value for money for the goods and services they buy. It might involve protecting consumers from criminal activities such as scams, rogue traders and doorstep crime. Or it might be to help ensure that the products consumers buy, from food to electrical goods, are safe.
UK International Consumer Centre (UKICC)
The UKICC provides free advice and assistance to UK residents who have problems with anything they have bought from companies based outside the UK. The UKICC works with partner organisations in various other countries, to ensure UK consumers are empowered with the knowledge they need in order to resolve problems with a company. In some instances, these partnerships enable the UKICC to make contact with the company on behalf of the consumer. This can be helpful whenever the parties have been unable to reach an amicable solution
For further detail around our process and the advice we provide, including mediation, or to speak to one of our legally trained advisors, please check our UKICC resources.
Consumer Codes Approval Scheme (CCAS)
CTSI runs the Consumer Codes Approval Scheme. This was set up to guarantee high standards of customer care and added levels of protection from traders who are approved members. Any business can apply to join the CCAS Scheme. Customers are reassured when buying from CCAS Approved businesses, that they have additional protection for their purchases and have access to clear procedures to resolve any complaints.
Consumers can use something called Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) to resolve disputes they may have with a business or trader. ADR is about trying to avoid legal action and going through the courts by mediating between both parties and trying to resolve things amicably. It is a voluntary process and parties can still choose to take further court action if they do not reach a solution through ADR. There are various types of ADR processes and depending on size, complexity and value of claim; parties can decide to use whichever of the available methods would most effectively resolve the dispute.
If you would like to use an ADR body to resolve your complaint you should first ask the trader for details of an approved ADR body and whether they are willing to use them to resolve your complaint. For more advice on accessing ADR, if your complaint is with a trader in the UK contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133
Outside of regulated sectors (finance, telecoms and energy) the ADR Scheme is voluntary, although if the company you are dealing with is a member of one of the following trade associations you may be able to use ADR.
Product recalls and safety notices are issued when it has been found that a product may have a safety issue or defect which could potentially be dangerous. Businesses who would like to display product recall or safety notices on this page should email email@example.com If you wish to publish such information, it is recommended that you contact your local trading standards service for advice before sending the notice to us.
Take a look at the most recent products that have been recalled.