In the United Kingdom, Trading Standards are the local authority departments, formerly known as Weights and Measures, that enforce consumer protection legislation.
Sometimes, the Trading Standards enforcement functions of a local authority are performed by part of a larger department which enforces a wide range of other legislation: environmental health, health and safety, licensing and so on. These departments investigate commercial organisations that trade outside the law or in unethical ways. They attempt to remedy breaches by advice or by formal enforcement action.
Trading Standards services also offer Primary Authority Partnershipswhereby a business can form a legal partnership with a regulator in order to obtain assured advice and support with compliance.
They were originally labelled as Weights and Measures Departments because their primary function was to maintain the integrity of commercial weighing and measuring by routine testing of equipment and goods. A wide range of other legislation was allocated to them as time went on.
They now deal with more diverse issues under a wide variety of Acts, Orders and Codes of Practice, as set out by central government, working with a number of other regulatory bodies such as the Food Standards Agency and the Office for Product Safety and Standards. Such legislation includes the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, the Consumer Protection Act 1987, the Food Safety Act 1990, the Price Marking Order 2004 and the Consumer Rights Act 2015. Trading Standards also work with APHA and DEFRA to ensure disease controls are in place protecting residents and agriculture in the UK.
Recent priorities include prevention of sales of counterfeit goods, sales of tobacco and alcohol to under-age buyers, and action to prevent exploitation of vulnerable consumers by scams and doorstep crime. In 2017, the Trading Standards of Somerset, Devon and Torbay donated 5,000 items of counterfeit clothes to the charity Planet Zero after the clothes were seized and rebranded.
Trading Standards can work together with other regulators and national supporting regulators to provide businesses with access to tailored advice and support. In 2018 Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standardsformed their 100th Primary Authority Partnership under this government scheme.
Regulation is the management of complex systems according to a set of rules and trends. In systems theory, these types of rules exist in various fields of biology and society, but the term has slightly different meanings according to context. For example:
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is a regulatory commission of the Australian Government, under the Treasury. It was established in 1995 with the amalgamation of the Australian Trade Practices Commission and the Prices Surveillance Authority to administer the Trade Practices Act 1974, which was renamed the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 on 1 January 2011. Its mandate is to protect consumer rights and business rights and obligations, to perform industry regulation and price monitoring, and to prevent illegal anti-competitive behaviour.
Consumer organizations are advocacy groups that seek to protect people from corporate abuse like unsafe products, predatory lending, false advertising, astroturfing and pollution.
In general, compliance means conforming to a rule, such as a specification, policy, standard or law. Regulatory compliance describes the goal that organizations aspire to achieve in their efforts to ensure that they are aware of and take steps to comply with relevant laws, policies, and regulations. Due to the increasing number of regulations and need for operational transparency, organizations are increasingly adopting the use of consolidated and harmonized sets of compliance controls. This approach is used to ensure that all necessary governance requirements can be met without the unnecessary duplication of effort and activity from resources.
The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) is a professional association which represents and trains trading standards professionals working in local authorities, business and consumer sectors and in central government in the UK and overseas.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) is the regulatory body for therapeutic goods in Australia. It is a Division of the Australian Department of Health established under the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 (Cth). The TGA is responsible for conducting assessment and monitoring activities to ensure that therapeutic goods available in Australia are of an acceptable standard and that access to therapeutic advances is in a timely manner.
A regulatory agency is a public authority or government agency responsible for exercising autonomous authority over some area of human activity in a regulatory or supervisory capacity.
Food safety is used as a scientific discipline describing handling, preparation, and storage of food in ways that prevent food-borne illness. The occurrence of two or more cases of a similar illnesses resulting from the ingestion of a common food is known as a food-borne disease outbreak. This includes a number of routines that should be followed to avoid potential health hazards. In this way food safety often overlaps with food defense to prevent harm to consumers. The tracks within this line of thought are safety between industry and the market and then between the market and the consumer. In considering industry to market practices, food safety considerations include the origins of food including the practices relating to food labeling, food hygiene, food additives and pesticide residues, as well as policies on biotechnology and food and guidelines for the management of governmental import and export inspection and certification systems for foods. In considering market to consumer practices, the usual thought is that food ought to be safe in the market and the concern is safe delivery and preparation of the food for the consumer.
Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV) is a government agency that protects and promotes the interests of consumers and is based in the Australian state of Victoria. It is responsible for reviewing and advising the Victorian Government on consumer legislation and industry codes; advising and educating consumers, tenants, traders and landlords on their rights, responsibilities and changes to the law; registering and licensing businesses and occupations; conciliating disputes between consumers and traders, tenants and landlords; and enforcing and ensuring compliance with consumer laws. It is a business unit of the Department of Justice and Community Safety.
The Commerce Commission is a New Zealand government agency charged with enforcing legislation that promotes competition in the country's markets and prohibits misleading and deceptive conduct by traders. It is an independent, quasi-judicial body, established under the Commerce Act 1986. The purpose of the Act is to promote competition in New Zealand's economy. It prohibits conducts that restricts competition and the purchase of a business's shares or assets if that purchase leads to a substantial lessening of competition in the market.
New South Wales Food Authority is a statutory authority of Government of New South Wales, responsible for food safety and food labelling regulations in the state as well as consumer food safety promotion. It is part of the DPI Biosecurity and Food Safety Branch within the Department for Primary Industries, which is a part of the Department of Regional NSW.
The Consumer Protection Act 1987 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that made important changes to the consumer law of the United Kingdom. Part 1 implemented European Community (EC) Directive 85/374/EEC, the product liability directive, by introducing a regime of strict liability for damage arising from defective products. Part 2 created government powers to regulate the safety of consumer products through Statutory Instruments. Part 3 defined a criminal offence of giving a misleading price indication.
The Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property Act of 2008 is a United States law that increases both civil and criminal penalties for trademark, patent and copyright infringement. The law also establishes a new executive branch office, the Office of the United States Intellectual Property Enforcement Representative (USIPER).
Consumer protection is the practice of safeguarding buyers of goods and services, and the public, against unfair practices in the marketplace. Consumer protection measures are often established by law. Such laws are intended to prevent businesses from engaging in fraud or specified unfair practices in order to gain an advantage over competitors or to mislead consumers. They may also provide additional protection for the general public which may be impacted by a product even when they are not the direct purchaser or consumer of that product. For example, government regulations may require businesses to disclose detailed information about their products—particularly in areas where public health or safety is an issue, such as with food or automobiles.
Counterfeit consumer goods are goods, often of inferior quality, made or sold under another's brand name without the brand owner's authorization. Sellers of such goods may infringe on either the trademark, patent or copyright of the brand owner by passing off its goods as made by the brand owner. Counterfeit products made up 5 to 7% of world trade in 2013, and in 2014 cost an estimated 2.5 million jobs worldwide, with up to 750,000 jobs lost in the U.S. About 5% of goods imported into the European Union in 2013 were fakes, according to the OECD.
Consumer protection in the United Kingdom is effected through a multiplicity of Acts of Parliament, statutory instruments, government agencies and departments and citizens' lobby groups and aims to ensure the market economy produces fairness and quality in goods and services people buy. The main areas of regulating consumer affairs include,
The Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, abbreviated KPDNHEP, is a ministry of the Government of Malaysia that is responsible for domestic trade, co-operatives, consumerism, franchise, companies, intellectual property, competition, controlled goods, price control, pyramid scheme, consumer rights, trader.
The Belize Bureau of Standards is a government of Belize department that develops, promotes and implements standards for goods, services and processes.