How to report an issue / complaint
Please report your issue to Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice Consumer Service.
Visit the Citizens Advice Consumer Service website for contact methods, including telephone, webform and online chat.
You can report anonymously if you wish. They treat reports with the strictest confidence.
When you contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service:
- Advisers trained in consumer law can provide you with free, confidential and independent advice on your rights and what steps to take to resolve the matter. They may on occasions signpost you to another organisation that is better placed to assist you.
- They will refer the details to us at Trading Standards for consideration where they believe a criminal offence has been committed
Examples of issues you can report
We welcome information on any dishonest or criminal trading practices. Examples of things you can report to us via the Citizens Advice Consumer Service include:
- Counterfeit / fake goods
- Illegal tobacco
- Food sold with incorrect allergens information or past its use by date
- Sale of alcohol / tobacco / vaping products to underage children
- Livestock welfare issues
- Unsafe or dangerous goods and products
- False statements / misleading information (including price and costs)
- Unlicensed firework storage
- Rogue traders (call 999 if still at property)
The Government launched a national consumer advice service in 2004. It was initially called 'Consumer Direct' before Citizens Advice took the service over to become the 'Citizens Advice Consumer Service'.
The Citizens Advice Consumer Service receives complaints on behalf of all Trading Standards teams in the UK. They log each one on a national database which all Trading Standards teams have access to.
This gives us a wealth of intelligence about issues affecting consumers. We can see which businesses cause the greatest harms, both in our county and further afield.
The Citizens Advice Consumer Service has highly trained civil law advisers. They can provide you with tailored, comprehensive advice on your rights. They can share guidance and letter templates and help you find a resolution.
While the Citizens Advice Consumer Service performs a comprehensive advice service on our behalf, it allows us to focus on inspections, investigations and enforcement.
Each referral the Citizens Advice Consumer Service makes to Trading Standards is assessed. If we feel able to proceed with an investigation, we will contact you further to gather additional information.
Even if we don't contact you, the details of your complaint will remain on our intelligence database for us to use at a future date. For example, to compile a case against a business where we can see a pattern of similar offending.
Where the Citizens Advice Consumer Service believes a criminal offence may have been committed, they will refer the details to us at Trading Standards for consideration.
If we feel able to proceed with an investigation based on all the circumstances, we will contact the consumer who reported the case for further information.
For those matters that we don't investigate, the information will remain on the national database as intelligence. It may be used to inform future action or operational enforcement activities.
Report scams and fraud
You should report scams, fraud and cyber crime to Action Fraud:
- Online via the Action Fraud website
- Call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2010
If you or someone else is in immediate danger or risk of harm, call 999.
Action Fraud is run by a government agency called the National Fraud Authority. It is the UK's national reporting centre for fraud and cyber crime.
Report a loan shark
A loan shark is someone who lends money without authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). They often appear friendly and helpful to begin with, but can turn to violent and aggressive behaviour to force victims to repay loans with huge interest and extortionate penalties.
You can report your suspicions in confidence to the Illegal Money Lending Team.
Having begun as a pilot in Birmingham, the Illegal Money Lending Team receives Government funding to raise awareness of and prosecute loan sharks. Since 2004, the team have helped 30,000 people and written off £87m worth of illegal debt.
You can contact the Illegal Money Lending Team 24/7 by:
- Telephone: 0300 555 2222
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Text: loan(space)shark(space) + your message to 60003
If you have borrowed money from a loan shark, it is important to remember that you have done nothing wrong and there is no shame in seeking help.
Loan shark warning signs
Warning signs that a money lender is acting illegally:
- Giving you no paperwork or agreement on a loan
- Refusing to give you information about the loan
- Keeping items such as your passport and bank card until you repay the debt
- Taking things from you if you don't pay on time
- Adding more interest or charges so the debt never goes down
- Using intimidation or violence if you don't pay
- Starting off by being your friend but quickly turning nasty
Report illegal tobacco
Illegal tobacco, also referred to as 'illicit tobacco', includes:
- Genuine tobacco products smuggled into the UK without paying duty
- Counterfeit / imitations of established brands manufactured illegally
Visit our illegal tobacco page for information how to spot illegal tobacco and report it.