Retail trading standards


Once a trader displays goods/services, an invitation for the customer to offer to purchase is made ("invitation to treat"). Only once an offer has been accepted, money changed hands, contract signed, does this then become a legally binding contract.

  • It is a criminal offence to restrict a consumer's statutory rights with notices such as "no-refunds"
  • People injured by defective products may be able to sue you for damages
  • Business names should be displayed and printed on documents such as receipts, orders and invoices 
  • Goods must be "as described" and not misrepresented
  • Goods sold must be of a satisfactory quality and fit for the purpose they are intended unless the customer is informed prior to the sale and agrees to purchase

Trading at car boot sales Click to get info

Are you a trader?

  • You sell goods you specially buy to resell
  • You regularly attend a sale
  • You employ others to help
  • You sell similar goods at other venues (from home, markets, in the street)

Answering yes to any of the above and you may be classed as a trader and bound by consumer law.

Genuine 'non-traders' are outside the bounds of consumer law but are still required to ensure goods are accurately described or be obliged to provide a refund, replacement or reduction in price.

  • Avoid selling electrical goods unless you are sure of it's from a reputable source
  • Avoid clothing which may be inflammable (outside the flammability requirements) or pose a hazard (children's hood-cords)
  • Check toys are safe to be used and remove sharp objects
  • Check carefully and caution is needed when selling goods that have their own safety standards (prams/pushchairs, oil and paraffin heaters)

If you don't have access to a computer, you can visit a Library Plus branch where you can use a self-service pc to log your request/report.  Staff are available to support you if you need it.

Contact Click to get info

Contact Waltham Forest Trading Standards via Citizen Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133 for civil advice and to report a problem with a trader or product.

Waltham Forest Trading Standards
3 The Square
E10 5NR