What are Get Started, Quick Guides and In-depth Guides?

Get Started

A brief overview of how Trading Standards law views businesses that sell to consumers, and information about other topics that are covered by this legislation. The overview is split into five broad sections:

  1. What you sell
  2. Where you sell
  3. How you sell
  4. Key topics
  5. Key activities

Quick Guides

Within each of the five sections outlined in Get Started you will find three Quick Guides, each of which provides quick-access high-level information to help you get started and understand the scope of its subject:

1. What you sell
  • goods
  • digital
  • services
2. Where you sell
  • on-premises sales
  • off-premises sales
  • distance sales
3. How you sell
  • consumer contracts
  • good practice
  • pricing and payment
4. Key topics
  • underage sales
  • food and drink
  • product safety
5. Key activities
  • animals and agriculture
  • weights and measures
  • miscellaneous

Note: Quick Guides are only intended to be an introduction to each subject and it is important that you read the detailed information that applies to your business; this information is delivered as In-depth Guides.

In-depth Guides

In-depth Guides provide detailed information on very specific topics, and have links to further information and the key legislation that applies.

You can reach the In-depth Guides in three ways:

  • read a Quick Guide, then browse its related In-depth Guides to see whether there are areas that you need to know more about
  • go to the In-depth Guide page and expand the list to see all the guides available on the site
  • use the search box, and then click on the filter for In-depth Guides

Note: while the In-depth Guides contain a lot of information, some laws are incredibly detailed and as such it is impractical to cover them in full in an online format; nor can the site, for example, cover the full specifications of the British and European Standards that are applicable to certain products.

Why is there no option to contact Business Companion?

Business Companion is a self-service resource and we cannot offer guidance in response to questions by email. An administrative email address has been provided in password change confirmation emails, in case of error.

Otherwise, all feedback via the general feedback form and the 'Did you find this article useful?' form is reviewed on a monthly basis, and changes are made to the content if the feedback is specific and within the scope of the site.

If you cannot find the information you require on the site please contact your local Trading Standards service.

Why do I have the option to change location at the top of the page?

Some laws are different in England, Scotland and Wales, while others are the same in England and Wales but different in Scotland; still others extend to the three GB countries or the whole of the UK.

We have provided country-specific In-depth Guides in Business Companion. Just choose your location at any time from the drop-down list and the site will show you the relevant information; each In-depth Guide tells you which countries it applies to and will warn you if there is no guide for that country.

For guidance on the law in Northern Ireland, please see nibusinessinfo.co.uk.

What about additional resources?

Some guides have links to PDF / Word downloads to help you. These can be forms or templates for use in your business, or more detailed guidance documents. You'll also see links to external sites where there is related information of interest.

What is watched content?

Our guidance is updated regularly. If you need to keep up to date, but don't have the time to keep coming back to the site, you can click to watch relevant content (country specific) and you will receive an email each time there is an update.

Choose the items you want to watch from the individual Quick Guides and In-depth Guides; you can manage your watched content your 'View profile' page.

Note: watched content requires you to register on the site so we know your email address. Read our privacy statement for information on how we use this data.

What are collections?

All businesses will be affected by a range of laws, and therefore will need to read a number of the guides. You can add guides that are important to you to a named collection, and then either read through them on the site when you have time, or download the collection as a PDF to be printed or read offline.

Create collections and add items to them from the individual Quick Guides and In-depth Guides; you will be able to manage your collections from your 'View profile' page.

Note: collections require you to register on the site so we know your email address. Read our privacy statement for information on how we use this data.

Will you send me lots of emails if I register?

We will only send emails to which you subscribe, such as watched content. In the future we may send messages about website developments or changes that affect registered users; you will be able to unsubscribe from these emails.

What is the news and updates page for?

The news page will feature only news items we feel are important to businesses that need to know about Trading Standards law. We will also occasionally feature high-profile stories here that affect specific groups of businesses.

There is also a list of recently updated In-depth Guides, so you can quickly see whether information important to you has changed. The alternative is to watch a content item, which requires registration.

Why does each guide have the option for feedback as well as the link at the bottom of every page?

The Feedback link at the bottom of each page is for general feedback on the site; we look at this every month. The 'Did you find this article useful?' form gives us specific feedback on each guide, which we analyse to make sure you're happy with the content and make changes if appropriate where not. Unfortunately, we are unable to respond to comments individually.

Note: we also collect information anonymously if you carry out a search and don't get any results, so that we can improve this service continuously.

What is the Actions menu for?

This is where you will see all the things you can do with the currently displayed guide - for example, you can print the information or download it as a PDF. This is also where you are able to watch guides for updates and add them to a collection for later reading or download.

My profile

The page is available to users who have registered on the site. The 'Log in / Sign up' button turns into a 'My profile' drop-down menu once you are signed in.

You are able to change your details and password, and jump to the 'My watched items' and 'My collections' pages where you can manage these items. You can also delete your account here.