Agenda item

Trading Standards (Scams)


The Trading Standards & Licensing Manager updated the Committee on scams and doorstep crime issues and the work undertaken by Trading Standards.


In common with most trading standards authorities across England and Wales, Ceredigion’s Trading Standards Team (TS Team) uses, as a first point of contact for members of the public, the Citizens Advice Consumer Service (CACS) which has been set up and funded nationally by central government to offer consumer civil advice and to act as a portal for referrals to local authority trading standards teams. Relevant information is then passed to each local authority on a daily basis for them to take any appropriate action. The TS Team requests that 100% of scam and doorstep crime complaints are passed through.


The Service also uses the National Intelligence Operating Model to identify priorities based on consumer detriment and vulnerability and scams and doorstep crime consistently features in its top 5 priority areas.


In 2019/20, the TS Team received 552 reports from CACS, 40 of which were specifically related to scams and doorstep crime.  The Team also receive referrals from National Trading Scams Team (NTS Team).  During the same period, the TS Team dealt with 48 scam victim referrals from the NTS Team; each report is triaged and the intervention depends on the level of risk associated with that individual.


It was explained that during the pandemic, with people having to stay at home, many households became reliant on good internet connectivity for online shopping, working from home, home schooling, online entertainment subscriptions, etc., and the typical online and delivery scams that fraudsters used to attempt to make money out of the unsuspecting public included:

  Texts and emails being sent to people to lure them to apply for the Covid-19 vaccine

  Automated message saying that BT were going to suspend your broadband because your IP address had been compromised, and the message asking the recipient to ‘press 1’ to continue.

  Automated message saying the call is from Amazon Prime claiming that they would charge the recipients card £79 for Amazon Prime.

  Text messages purporting to be from Royal Mail stating that there is a package that needs to be rescheduled, or an item is waiting to be collected and asking the recipient to press on a ‘’ link.


Out of the 740 consumer complaints/reports received by the TS Team since the beginning of the pandemic, 67 cases related to Ceredigion consumers having experienced directly some form of unfair trading practice as a result of Covid-19 e.g. breach of contracts, traders refusing to refund and return deposits relating to cancelled holidays/weddings/events, or failure to provide a service, etc.


Doorstep Crime were outlined to the Committee.  It is often elderly and vulnerable people that are targeted by rogue traders offering home improvement or gardening services, etc. Doorstep crime often results from an initial cold call. Unscrupulous traders will carry out unnecessary, substandard and sometimes even dangerous work and then use strong arm tactics to persuade consumers to part with large sums of money for poor workmanship.

The TS Team works closely with partners such as Dyfed-Powys Police to try to maximise the impact locally of its activities and avoid duplication. All intelligence related to scams and doorstep crime is added to a central intelligence database which is disseminated to the Police and other enforcement agencies as appropriate.


The response of the TS Team to doorstep crime incidents is more enforcement based and the Team attempts to respond to all reported incidents including, where possible, with the assistance of the police.

Investigating this type of rogue trader activity and protecting vulnerable consumers from them continues to be a priority for the TS Team. The Service currently has a number of ongoing investigations with one prosecution pending.  Results of the most recent prosecutions of rogue/unscrupulous traders were provided to the Committee.


Committee members emphasised that additional resources for the team would be beneficial, as the majority of enforcement partners are struggling with resources.


The Committee considered the content of the report and AGREED to note the report and take account of the issues described.


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