Update of actions taken following COVID-19 official advice
The Trading Standards Service (TSS) and Consumerline are concerned above all to ensure the safety and well-being of our staff and all those it engages with, while continuing to do its utmost to help ensure that consumers and businesses are protected from unfair and rogue trading practices.
Range of precautions implemented
TSS has therefore implemented a range of precautions, taking into account official advice, and continues to review and update its protocols as this complex situation develops.
Among other things, TSS and Consumerline are making the following changes:
- All staff are now working from home if they are able to do so. As well as protecting staff, this will allow TSS and Consumerline to continue to progress cases, make decisions and meet deadlines. TSS has also stopped business travel and travel between its different offices.
- All meetings are being conducted remotely via videoconferencing or telephone. It is no longer necessary or appropriate, given the official guidance, to hold face-to-face external meetings. People can still make decisions and take part in meetings while working from home, including with people from outside the organisation.
- It's taking longer than usual for Consumerline to answer calls or reply to emails. We would ask that you leave your name and contact number and we will respond as quickly as possible. Alternatively, you can contact us by email at email@example.com
- Binding statutory deadlines apply to a proportion of the Trading Standards Service’s work and it intends to continue progressing its cases, making decisions and meeting deadlines – helped in part by the adjustments it is already making to things like remote working. Any updates will be communicated to businesses involved in investigations by TSS staff.
- TSS is reallocating resources to help ensure that the most urgent and the most critical work can be done on time – consequently, this may impact on other services normally carried out by TSS.
- TSS and Consumerline will not be accepting post or courier deliveries into any of our offices. If documents need to be sent to us during this time, please make contact with the recipient to discuss available alternatives.
TSS and Consumerline continue to monitor official advice and will provide further updates about how we expect to adapt our work in response to the unprecedented challenges now faced by many parts of the economy.
This is a difficult period for everyone – including the businesses, consumers and public authorities we engage with, as well as our own staff. But we are determined to work co-operatively to ensure that, to the greatest extent possible, work can carry on for the benefit of consumers and businesses.
How TSS and Consumerline is working may be changing in some ways, but our role remains the same: promoting and maintaining fair trading, protecting consumers and enabling reputable businesses to thrive.
What Trading Standards Service does
The Northern Ireland Trading Standards Service is committed to providing a fair and impartial service.
At times the law requires us to tell you what you must and must not do. However we prefer to secure compliance through advice and help. We aim to provide a high-quality service to the Northern Ireland business community.
For business advice regarding Trading Standards legislation, you should visit nibusinessinfo.co.uk.
For advice on how to ensure you comply with Consumer Protection legislation you should visit the Business Companion website. This provides comprehensive guidance for businesses and individuals that need to know about trading standards and consumer protection legislation. Although the references are to the law in England, the law also applies in Northern Ireland.
If you need further advice, or if you want to discuss a specific issue, please contact us on 0300 123 6262, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
The main areas we deal with
- weights and measures - to ensure that all goods sold by weight, volume, length or area are accurately measured
- misleading price indications - it is illegal for a trader to give consumers price indications which are misleading or to make price comparisons which are not genuine, fair and meaningful
- false or misleading descriptions of goods and services - to ensure that goods and services are accurately described when they are offered for sale
- price marking - in general, traders must display the price of all goods which they offer for sale. Also, large shops must show the unit price of goods which are prepacked in fixed quantities
- hallmarking of precious metals - most gold, silver and platinum jewellery must be hallmarked by one of the Assay Offices
- credit transactions - traders who offer credit to consumers must hold a valid consumer credit licence. Traders who advertise credit must comply with the appropriate regulations
- estate agency and the misdescription of property - to ensure that estate agents act in the best interests of their clients, and that both buyers and sellers are treated honestly, fairly and promptly
- video recordings - legislation regulating the video industry seeks to ensure that only classified films are offered for sale or rent, and that children are not able to rent or buy films which have an adult classification
- counterfeit goods - the Northern Ireland Trading Standards Service is responsible for enforcing the Trade Marks Act 1994, which prohibits the unauthorised use of trademarks
- timeshare transactions and package travel - legislation controls the sale of timeshare, while package travel regulations seek to protect consumers in the event of holiday companies ceasing to trade
- businesses which persistently trade unfairly - the Northern Ireland Trading Standards Service investigates complaints about illegal trading practices and trading standard laws
Calibration and Metrology Services
Northern Ireland Trading Standards operate a Mass Calibration Service. We are a UKAS accredited calibration laboratory (No. 0338) for the calibration of mass, in the range 1mg to 25kg to M1, F2 and F1 standard.
Calibration takes place in our laboratory where the environmental conditions are strictly controlled. Each item submitted for calibration is placed in the laboratory 24 hours prior to testing in order to acclimatise to these conditions. Once calibrated each item is returned with a fully traceable UKAS calibration certificate acceptable for most quality systems.
We also offer a weight adjustment service for those weights that have fallen outside of the permitted tolerances as a result of regular use. This can be done on most weights for a small fee (information on current fees can be found below).
In order to provide an efficient and effective service we require all calibrations to be booked in at least 14 days in advance. We will endeavour to complete calibration of your weights and have them ready for collection within 10 working days of being delivered. However, in some instances depending on the quantity and standard of weights, this may take longer. We will always attempt to provide you with an accurate completion date during the booking in process.
In addition, we also have the facilities to test weights up to 1000kg. If you require this service, please contact us as early as possible to get booked in.
We are a Notified Body and can conduct Initial verifications on Liquid Fuel Measuring Instruments, Road Tanker Meter Measuring Systems and Non-Automatic Weighing Instruments.
Hire of Weighbridge test units
We operate a weighbridge test unit which is available to hire. Our weighbridge test unit can carry a total test load of 20,000kg in weights, all of which are calibrated by our UKAS accredited laboratory. Our staff are trained and experienced in the safe operation of the test unit. Please contact us to discuss your requirements.
Details of fees/charges are at:
ContactDepartment for the Economy
Trading Standards Service
176 Newtownbreda Road
Telephone: 0300 123 62 62
For calibration services, email: email@example.com
The Northern Ireland Trading Standards Service (NITSS) currently acts in the role of Primary Authority for Moy Park Ltd in relation to Metrology and Fair Trading functions.
All enquiries relating to the Primary Authority Agreement should be addressed to:Trading Standards Service
Department for the Economy
Consumer Affairs Building
176 Newtownbreda Road Belfast
Telephone: 0300 123 6262
Our Enforcement Policy
This Enforcement Policy has been published in order to explain what happens when we find infringements of Trading Standards law. It has also been designed to help promote an efficient and effective approach to enforcement, - one that will improve regulatory outcomes without imposing unnecessary burdens on businesses. This is in accordance with the good practice principles set out in the Enforcement Concordat and the Regulator’s Compliance Code.
Make a complaint against us
The DfE complaints procedure explains how you can make a complaint regarding the quality of our services, what standards you can expect when you do so, and what you can do if you are still dissatisfied.