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Mind the Gap Between the Chain and the Platform

With a General Election in the Westminster Parliament just around the corner, the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) has released a report that sets out what the Trading Standards profession and stakeholder partners need the next Government to focus on to ensure that legislation it fit for purpose to support the regulating of third-party sellers on online marketplaces and to make necessary improvements to clean up the supply chain.


CTSI's Mind the Gap report (download)


Background to the report

Britain is at the forefront of embracing new innovations, such as online marketplaces and other online platforms which support small and medium sized businesses to trade. However, counterfeit goods and unsafe products, such as e-scooters and mobile phone chargers, are increasingly being imported and sold through these routes by third-party sellers.

The report released by CTSI is the result of a national inquiry held by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Consumer Protection, of which CTSI sits as the secretariat. The report is based on a number of evidence sessions and discussions held in Parliament with businesses and regulatory stakeholders. The purpose of this report links to the APPG’s core aim to support Government’s work on improving consumer protection and supporting businesses to innovate and compete in rapidly changing trading environments with changing consumer shopping habits.


What are we calling for

In this report we make recommendations for government, for businesses and consumers.

For Government:
1. Introduce clear legal duties on online marketplaces and other online platforms in line with those set out in the Online Safety Act 2023.

2. Include a definition for a ‘provider of an online marketplace' under new UK General Product Safety Regulations so it is clear that online marketplaces and other online platforms are responsible for the legal compliance of the products sold on their platforms, in particular products sold by third-party sellers.

3. Include a definition of ‘fulfilment service provider’ under new UK General Product Safety Regulations so it is clear that they are responsible for ensuring the compliance of the goods supplied where there is no manufacturer (or its representative) or importer based in the UK.

4. Introduce a levy on online marketplaces and other platforms, a windfall tax or additional tax revenue or a combination of these taxes to fund and support ongoing and future regulation of online marketplaces and platforms by Local Authority Trading Standards services.

5. Provide increased, ring-fenced and sustained long-term funding for Local Authority Trading Standards services to support enforcement activities at our UK ports and borders for all entry points, including inland borders.

6. Extend Trading Standards information gathering powers to include providers of online marketplaces and other online platforms.

7. Support better coordination and intelligence sharing between different regulatory bodies and Trading Standards at UK ports and borders by agreeing roles and responsibilities.

8. OPSS to report annually on the consumer detriment saved as a result of the ports and borders work undertaken by Trading Standards.

9. Develop a more systematic collection of consumer data on online marketplaces and other platforms to gather a better picture of the harms that consumer face in this area.

10. Build on the work of the OPSS with the NHS by working with RoSPA, medical professionals with expertise in this area and other interested stakeholders to explore how injury data can be collected to help Trading Standards professionals better target their limited resources.

For Businesses:
11. As an interim measure, work with providers of online marketplaces and other online platforms to develop a code of practice to prevent unsafe and counterfeit goods being sold on online platforms.

For Consumers:
12. Include consumer rights when purchasing from online marketplaces and other platforms as part of the Citizenship and Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) syllabuses for 14–18-year-olds and equivalent in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland or embed them into the core national curriculum.

13. Introduce a pop-up warning to alert consumers when they are about to purchase a product from a third-party seller on an online platform.



Who contributed to the national inquiry. . . 

A number of organisations provided oral or written evidence to help inform the report. To full list of participants can be found in the report.

Advertising Standards Authority
Anti-Counterfeiting Group
British Toy and Hobby Association
CTSI Lead Officers, E-Commerce
CTSI Lead Officer for Intellectual Property
Electrical Safety First
Federation of Small Businesses
Essex Trading Standards
Hillingdon Trading Standards
Institute of Export & International Trade
London Chambers of Commerce
National Trading Standards eCrime Team
Office for Product Safety and Standards
Primary Authority Officer for Amazon
Primary Authority Officer for eBay
Small Business Commissioner



If you'd like to add your voice, email our Policy & Communications team, [email protected]


Download Your Copy

Please click the following link to download our Mind the Gap Between the Chain and the Platform' report (as a pdf), or if you'd like to find out more about our policy recommendations, please email [email protected].


Click here to download the report





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