Strong rules protect us from rogue businesses

Whether we’re buying groceries, booking a holiday or paying for home improvements, we should be able to trust what we buy. Consumer protections are crucial for keeping dodgy businesses in check and giving us confidence that the products and services we buy are what they say they are.

But most of the bodies whose job it is to check businesses are following the rules have suffered significant cuts since 2009. Falling budgets and staff losses mean that it’s getting more difficult for them to protect us from fraud, scams and dangerous products.

We should be able to shop safe in the knowledge that we’re not being ripped off. Join our campaign to stand up for the public protection bodies who keep dodgy businesses in check.

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Cuts to public bodies mean businesses are going unchecked

A number of public bodies protect consumers by intercepting counterfeit products, catching rogue traders, and cracking down on fraud and scams. Trading Standards teams, the Office for Product Safety and Standards, and the Serious Fraud Office all contribute to making sure we can trust what we buy.

Most of these bodies have suffered significant funding cuts since 2009, with resulting declines in staff numbers. Local Authority Trading Standards have been hit particularly hard, with budgets falling by over 50% since 2009, and staff numbers falling by nearly two thirds.

  • Trading Standards services now spend an average of just £1.99 a year per citizen policing rogue traders.

  • On average, a Local Authority will prosecute a doorstep criminal less than once a year.

  • Councils have cut back on product safety testing, with half carrying out no chemical testing of everyday products in the last three years.

See the investigations

Your stories

HENNA’S STORY

"Our nightmare began when we were looking for someone to do an extension on our property. We weren't the only victims."

OSCAR’S STORY

In November 2016, seven-month-old Oscar Abbey was found by his parents with his head caught in the side of his cot.

MARILYN’S STORY

"Mother had always been independent. Things changed when she replied to that first scam letter. I was powerless to help."

ALICE’S STORY

"This was the first time I’d tried DIY teeth whitening kits. The website said they were: ‘safe for use’ and ‘used by top dentists’. But I guess I should have checked."

MICHELLE’S STORY

"I am one of thousands of people who would like to see justice done to Vance Miller, who is behind several dodgy kitchen firms."

JANET’S STORY

"We contracted Ben, a friend of my daughter’s, to build a granny annexe for us. We thought we could trust him, but we were so wrong."

Help us stand up for the public bodies who keep dodgy businesses in check

Join the campaign