Yn cynrychioli holl wasanaethau safonau masnach ledled Cymru
Representing all trading standards services across Wales

Trading Standards Wales Week - Day 5 - Cheap and Nasty

Trading Standards Wales warn consumers about cheap imports and counterfeits and remind them of the expression “buy cheap, buy twice”.  Occasionally, that 'bargain' could cost more than expected.

The cost-of-living crisis has driven consumers to hunt for more bargains, to stretch their hard-earned cash even further. 

The internet has a seen a boom in access to a range of consumer products that are cheaply made, easily sourced and widely distributed. 

Whilst cheap imports often bear the CE or UKCA mark, indicating a conformity with safety regulations, often this is not the case, and can be hazardous: be they cosmetic products, electronics or even food. 

Trading Standards authorities monitor air and seaports for illegal imports and intercept those they detect, but it is inevitable that some do get through and make their way onto the UK marketplace to be purchased by unsuspecting and trusting consumers.

Consumers may be attracted by high-end brands at low-end prices. Counterfeit products can be poorly manufactured and potentially unsafe.

In 2022/23 Welsh Trading Standards departments successfully seized 12,300 products with a market value of £217,000, which breached the intellectual property of legitimate business.

Nearly 23,000 unsafe or non-compliant products were seized or removed from the marketplace following Trading standards intervention.

There is currently a market for the supply of second-hand products to consumers who feel the bite of the cost-of-living crisis. Businesses such as toy libraries, baby banks and other outlets supply these kinds of goods.

Such second-hand products still need to comply with safety regulations, responsible businesses and organisations will have these items examined and tested prior to putting them on sale, less diligent sellers will not carry out these checks and they could prove a hazard to consumers.

Trading Standards Wales reports that despite rapidly changing consumer habits, used cars consistently remains top of the of the top 5 most complained about consumer products.  A car is one of the most expensive purchases a consumer will make and in some cases is vital to maintain their standard of living or getting to their place of work.  Consumers are cautioned that unscrupulous traders may try to pass themselves off as private sellers to avoid giving consumer rights: is this ‘private individual’ offering many vehicles for sale or not present on the vehicle history?

During 2023-24, inspections of car sales forecourts showed broad compliance, but also a number of significant breaches. 19% of second hand car dealers inspected so far this year have found to have breaches of misdescription or safety legislation.
TSW strongly advises consumers to:

Carry out pre-shopping checks when car purchasing
Complain to the trader as soon as any fault appears 
Be aware that any warranty supplied is over and above your statutory rights.

If you have a complaint, please contact the Citizens’ Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133 (English) or 0808 223 1144 (Cymraeg).  Trading Standards Departments receive complaint notifications from Citizens’ Advice, which help us target rogue businesses.

For further information, please go to our Trading Standards Wales Week page and our YouTube page

The podcast for Day 5 can be listened to here: 

Follow us on “X” (formerly “Twitter”) @WalesTS

Previous articleNext article
Your session will expire in xx.xx. Do you wish to Continue or Log Out
Your session will expire in xx.xx
Continue or Log Out