Business Companion provides information for businesses and individuals that need to know about trading standards and consumer protection legislation

The site delivers guidance by default for England, but if you are trading in Scotland or Wales, you should choose your location using the drop-down list at the top of the page. This is because some laws are different, or are differently enforced, in those countries

Trading standards and consumer protection laws look at three broad factors:

What and where you sell or trade

For example, a plumber supplies goods and services off-premises. A licensed corner shop sells age-restricted products on-premises. An accountant may supply services that are sold online.

How you treat your customers

All consumer-facing businesses must comply with rules on unfair trading, pricing and contracts, including when you must give a refund, or offer a repair or replacement.

Specific business activities

Trading standards legislation also covers topics such as product safety, food composition and hygiene, animal welfare and feedingstuffs as well as certain aspects of running your business.

There may be rules you are not aware of, so make sure you explore the site thoroughly. You'll find signpost links in each guide, highlighting important topics or related items that you may need to know about.

If you don't know where to begin, or you're a new business, click 'Get started' above.

This site contains impartial free information, and is government-backed.

The content on Business Companion is written and verified by expert contributors, but is not designed to be a replacement for professional advice, and is intended only for guidance. Though not marked as relevant for Northern Ireland, the advice and guidance that applies to England can be taken to reflect the 'spirit' of the law in NI, but should not be relied upon without professional advice.

If you are in any doubt about your legal responsibilities with regard to the topics on this site and would like more guidance, start by getting in touch with your local trading standards service; you can find their contact details by using the Need Help? search tool on the Trading Standards Institute website.

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Copyright © 2014 Trading Standards Institute

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