Trading Standards - Consumer Advice

Resolving a Problem

Consumer Advice

Consumer advice is available by phone from Citizens Advice Bureau’s Advice Line service by telephoning 03454 04 05 06 or alternatively you can make an enquiry regarding your consumer rights by completing an online form.  To access the form, please click here.

We are notified of all of the consumer advice that the Consumer helpline provides relating to an island consumer or business.  If Citizens Advice believes that the enquiry should be referred for further action, e.g. a consumer requires assistance with writing letters or the complaint is of a criminal nature, the case will be referred to us where the Duty Officer will respond.

To find out more about the Citizens Advice Bureau and to visit their website, please click here.

Consumer Advice Guidance Information

Safety of Laser Pointers

The misuse of laser pointers (sometimes referred to as laser pens) as reported in the press has generated considerable public and Ministerial concern over the safety of these devices. As a reminder to all local Trading Standards services around their responsibilities relating to the General Product Safety Regulations and the classification of laser pointers the following information may be of value

Laser pointers are small handheld battery-powered devices that project narrow laser beams. Their original purpose was for use in presentations or for pointing out objects. They can come with various beam colours. At low powers, the human eye can only see the dot where the laser beam hits a target. However, high power laser beams can be visible in the air. Astronomers use the laser beam to guide viewers towards stars and other objects in the night sky.

Laser pointers have many legitimate uses. In the classroom, teachers can use them for demonstrations of optical principles. They can be used as alignment aids and in construction. However, low power lasers are usually adequate. The technological development in laser technology has decreased the size of laser products, increased the powers, and reduced the cost significantly. Reject laser components from professional products are being bought by manufacturers of novelty laser products without appropriate quality control and compliance with safety standards. Recently, the low costs of the lasers has made them popular as toys among children and young adults which has led to the lasers being used in ways that are not appropriate. At the time of writing, laser pointers up to 6 watts are readily available over the internet. These are very dangerous for the user and for anyone who may be targeted by the laser beam.

PHE have released a You Tube Video of the dangers of Laser Pointers

(Download the Guidance Document from our Links Page 174kb in pdf format)

Carrier Bags

The law now requires large shops in England to charge 5p for all single-use plastic carrier bags. Charging started on 5 October 2015.

We want to reduce the use of single-use plastic carrier bags, and the litter they can cause, by encouraging people to reuse bags.

Large businesses need to charge for single-use plastic carrier bags. This applies to retailers who have 250 or more employees. Smaller businesses can also charge on a voluntary basis if they wish. Whether or not a shop must charge for bags depends on the size of the company that runs the shop, not on the size of an individual branch.

There are some cases where you won’t be charged for a bag:

  • If the bag is paper bag.
  • Shops in airports, or on board trains, aeroplanes or ships do not charge you for single-use plastic carrier bags.
  • Bags only containing certain items, such as unwrapped food, raw meat and fish where there is a food safety risk, prescription medicines, uncovered blades, seeds, bulbs and flowers, or live fish.

Go to the 'Links' tab above and follow the link to the Governments advice page on this subject.

Car Buying Guide

Buying a car, no matter what the price, it will always be about getting the best you can for the money you have.  But do you know what the actual cost is and will you be able to afford all the essential extras?  To read our guide, please click here (PDF, 191.83KB, 2 pages).

When you buy goods or services the law gives you consumer rights.  These protect you from being treated unfairly by a trader.  You may have received poor service or you may want to switch energy suppliers or cancel a contract,  the Citizens Advice Bureau offer self-help advice from their Advice Guide on a wide variety of issues complete with help writing letters and taking legal action.  To visit their website and view the advice guides, please click here.

Get Safe Online

Get Safe Online is a website that is a unique resource providing practical advice on how to protect yourself, your computer or mobile device and your business against fraud, identity theft, viruses and many other problems encountered online.  It contains guidance on many other related subjects too including performing backups and how to avoid theft or loss of your computer, smartphone or tablet.  Every conceivable topic is included on the site including safe online shopping, gaming and dating so, now you really can stay safe.  To visit the 'Get Safe Online' website please click here.

SAFERJobs

SAFERJobs was set up by the Metropolitan Police in 2010 and provides free, expert advice to job seekers during (or after) the job search in order to prevent the growing issue of job scams. In 2014 The Daily Telegraph listed job scams as one of the top ten scams to watch out for.

The website has useful information for people when they are looking for work online and the possible scams they might encounter. It includes practical advice about job searching online and also what to do if you think you have encountered anything ‘dodgy’.

How does it work?

Job seekers can get information on how to stay safe during the job search as well as contacting SAFERjobs to ask for assistance during the job search, or to report fraud after the event. Where the scam report is received before fraud has occurred, SAFERjobs will advise the job seeker on how to stay safe. Where the scam report is after the fraud has taken place, SAFERjobs will follow this up and respond to the job seeker.

Go to www.safer-jobs.com to see what help and advice they can give you.