We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
80,259 News Articles

Trading Standards needs skills boost

Officers need IT skills to tackle online traders

Trading Standards officers need to be better trained in order to deal with the needs of the internet consumer, according to a report published today by the Trading Standards Institute.

The report, based on work done at the TSI's annual conference in Cardiff, highlights the gap between the effective consumer protection provided under law for high street shoppers compared to the rather lapse and confusing laws governing online consumers.

Officers are finding complaints about online companies exceedingly difficult to follow up, the report says, due to a lack of understanding of how the web works and problems with tracing website owners. Also, because TS offices are regionally managed by local councils, there is a lack of overall coherence.

"There are more than 200 Trading Standards offices in the country [but] they're not adequately co-ordinated," said Richard Web, author of the report. "We believe there should be a properly trained and resourced body to protect people online."

One of the most important recommendations is the creation of a national post for someone whose responsibility would be to help co-ordinate the move towards e-government and to establish the Trading Standards powers over internet trading.

"Any laws which protect the consumer are good for the [genuine] trader," said a spokesperson at Lastminute.com "If people feel they have adequate protection they will be more willing to buy online."

A second report is in production that will require a crack-down on rogue traders, focusing specifically on misleading prices. It is due to be presented to the consumer affairs minister, Melanie Johnson, later this month.

If the government's plan to have all services online by 2005 is to be met, which has looked in doubt for some time, Trading Standards will have to work quickly to ensure there are clear universal laws governing internet trading.


IDG UK Sites

LG G4 Note UK release date and specification rumours: Samsung Galaxy Note 5 killer could be the LG 3......

IDG UK Sites

In defence of BlackBerrys

IDG UK Sites

Why we should reserve judgement on Apple ditching Helvetica in OS X/iOS for the Apple Watch's San...

IDG UK Sites

Retina 3.3GHz iMac 27in preview: Apple cuts £400 of price of Retina iMac with new model