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74% of used tyres checked by Trading Standards failed to meet safety standards

Posted 10/09/18

Almost three quarters (74%) of used tyres inspected by trading standards have failed to meet legal safety standards, says London Trading Standards (LTS).

The warning comes on the first day of London Trading Standards Week, a five-day campaign that raises awareness of consumer protection issues with the public and ensures legitimate business can thrive in the capital.

The tyre safety project, Operation GRIP, was undertaken by London Trading Standards (LTS) and safety charity TyreSafe between January and June 2018. LTS warns that 33 per cent of tyres inspected showed serious safety failures, while a further 41 per cent had marking issues.

The project saw officers visit over 150 businesses offering advice and guidance on how to store, mark, and assess used tyres in compliance with the law. Officers then covertly purchased 51 part-worn tyres, which were assessed by TyreSafe for safety and marking features.

Gerry Hearne, Chair of LTS’ Product Safety Group said:“The results of our used tyre checks carried out with Tyresafe are concerning and indicate that there are serious safety flaws with a significant proportion of the used tyres on sale in London. Consumers need to be aware that part worn tyres which don’t comply with the law pose significant safety risks, as explained in TyreSafe guidance. Should members of the public suspect that used tyres they have been sold do not meet legal requirements, they should report the trader to Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice Consumer helpline.”

TyreSafe chairman, Stuart Jackson, said: “Our investigations with Trading Standards across the country universally reveal an appallingly high level of illegal practises among retailers of part worn tyres. That’s of grave concern as tyres are a safety critical product – if they’re not in roadworthy condition, a vehicle’s brakes and steering are compromised. Londoners should be concerned that three-quarters of tyres in this investigation failed to meet legal safety standards. TyreSafe’s advice is always buy new whenever possible.”

Product safety is at the top of everyone’s agenda given product safety failings over the last year. Day one of LTS week is dedicated to highlighting partnerships between trading standards and product safety groups.

Trading standards play an important and unique role in product safety, as they have exclusive powers to remove unsafe products from the market, to make inspections and undertake prosecutions.

While local trading standards services retain responsibility for product safety enforcement, partnerships with organisations such as the, Department for Transport, TyreSafe and the newly created Office for Product Safety and Standards ensure consumers are protected despite ongoing cuts to public resources.

London Trading Standards is a coordinated partnership of 33 local authority trading standards services across London, sharing intelligence and working collaboratively to ensure each service can maintain consumer protection despite severe cuts to public resources.

With such a wide breadth of work conducted by trading standards services in the busiest city in Europe, each day of the week-long campaign showcases different areas of trading standards work, including scams and doorstep crime, second-hand goods, housing, and under-age sales.

LTS Week takes place 10 – 14 September 2018. Follow @London_T_S and @CTSI_UK on Twitter for full updates.

The aim of London Trading Standards Week is to promote and raise awareness about the wide range of work carried out by Trading Standards Services across London. Further details about the rest of the campaign can be found on the website, www.londontradingstandards.org.uk. #LTSweek2018 


Editors notes:

The aim of London Trading Standards Week is to promote and raise awareness about the wide range of work carried out by Trading Standards Services across London. Further details about the rest of the campaign can be found on the website, www.londontradingstandards.org.uk. #LTS Week 

     1.        London Trading Standards (LTS) represents the 33 Local Authority Trading Standards services in the London Region. We share information and awareness campaigns across the capital to protect consumers and safeguard legitimate enterprise. http://www.londontradingstandards.org.uk/

     2.        CTSI is a training and membership organisation that has represented the interests of the Trading Standards profession since 1881 nationally and internationally. We aim to raise the profile of the profession while working towards fairer, better informed and safer consumer and business communities. CTSI’s members are engaged in delivering frontline trading standards services in local authorities and in businesses. www.tradingstandards.uk

     3.        Our members advise on and enforce laws that govern the way we buy, sell, rent and hire goods and services. We carry out inspections and monitor or investigate complaints. We endeavour to work with businesses to help achieve compliance but ultimately we can prosecute those who break the law

     4.        Consumers may report London related information on trading standards issues to London Trading Standards, via our online reporting tool http://www.londontradingstandards.org.uk/report-consumer-crime/. The information will be passed on to the relevant authority or organisation. Please note it is a confidential no-reply service. If you need advice or guidance please contact the Citizens Advice Consumer helpline. https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/

     5.        LTS Week (#LTSweek2018) runs from 10 to 14 September 2018 and this press release relates to the first day, which is focusing on product safety. The theme for LTS Week is London Trading Standards - Protecting Consumers; Safeguarding Businesses. The aim is to promote and raise awareness about the wide range of work carried out by Trading Standards Services locally and highlighting the following priorities for London:

  • Day 1: Product Safety, to raise awareness of unsafe goods, such as used tyres
  • Day 2: Scams and Doorstep Sales, to help protect the vulnerable from fraudsters
  • Day 3: Buying a Used Car, to highlight potential pitfalls of purchasing a used car
  • Day 4: Housing, to stop private tenants being ripped off by rogue landlords
  • Day 5: Protecting Young People, dangers of underage sales of restricted goods

     6.        The legislation for tyre safety originates from the Department of Transport. The Motor Vehicle Tyres (Safety) Regulations 1994 create offences if part-worn tyres are sold that do not meet the following principal requirements:

                       i.   The structural integrity must not be compromised. It should be free of large cuts, any bulges or lumps both internally and externally. No plies or cords should be exposed.

                      ii.   Tyres must have passed an inflation test prior to sale.

                     iii.   The original grooves must still be clearly visible in their entirety and must be to a depth of at least 2mm across the full breadth of the tread, around its entire circumference.

                     iv.    Part worn tyres which have not been re-treaded must clearly show the relevant ‘E’ mark alongside which ‘PART-WORN’ must be permanently and legibly applied in letters at least 4mm high. These words cannot be hot branded or cut into the tyre.

                      v.    Part-worn tyres that have been re-treaded must have one of the following:

  • BS AU 144b, 144c, 144d, or 144e markings on the side wall (if first supplied as a re-tread on or before 31 December 2003 an ECE approval mark (if first supplied as a re-tread on or after 1 January 2004)
  • A permanent mark to identify the original model and manufacturer, the word ‘RETREAD’ moulded onto or into its sidewall (in upper case letters at least 4mm high) and further markings in accordance with ECE rules. You may need to seek further advice as to which rules apply
  • The indication ‘PART WORN’ must also appear next to the BS or ECE approval mark, or next to the word ‘RETREAD’
  • For tyres marked BS AU 144e, a speed category symbol and load capacity marking should be present.

     7.        In addition to these requirements the General Product Safety Regulations 2005 require that all products are safe. This covers other aspects of the tyres such as inadequate repairs and deterioration of the tyre due to factors such as age or incorrect storage

     8.        Brent & Harrow Trading Standards prosecuted a business for selling illegal tyres in 2017 https://www.brent.gov.uk/council-news/press-releases/pr6514/

     9.        TyreSafe is a UK charity, seeking to raise awareness of the importance of correct tyre maintenance and the dangers of defective and illegal tyres. TyreSafe has published an advice leaflet about the dangers of non-compliant used tyres https://www.tyresafe.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/bad_nick_leaflet.pdf

  10.        In March 2018, the Government launched the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS), a national coordinating body to assist local authority trading standards services in dealing with product safety and market surveillance in their area. https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/office-for-product-safety-and-standards

  11.        The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) published its first National Strategy for Product Safety: 2018-2020 in August 2018. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-strategy-launched-to-keep-consumers-safe-and-protect-businesses-that-do-the-right-thing 


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