Whether we’re paying for a new car, home improvements, or cosmetic surgery, we should be able to trust what we buy. But businesses don’t always stick to the rules. We’ve all experienced high-pressure salesmen or dodgy small print. When businesses are left unchecked it’s ordinary people who suffer.

There are a number of bodies which protect consumers by intercepting or testing dodgy 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 protecting the integrity of what we buy. Citizens Advice provides people with advice on money, legal or consumer problems. The Crown Prosecution Service prosecutes people for different types of crime, including fraud and economic crime.

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.

As a result, 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. Additionally, many councils have cut back on product safety testing, with 40% undertaking no chemical testing of consumer products in the last five years.

There are a number of bodies which protect consumers by intercepting or testing dodgy 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 protecting the integrity of what we buy. Citizens Advice provides people with advice on money, legal or consumer problems. The Crown Prosecution Service prosecutes people for different types of crime, including fraud and economic crime.

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.

As a result, 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. Additionally, many councils have cut back on product safety testing, with 40% undertaking no chemical testing of consumer products in the last five years.