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Trading standards

Covid-19 update

Trading Standards have been made aware that a small number of local retailers may be raising prices of essential goods in response to the coronavirus crisis. Consumers have reported that price rises of 100% or more have been applied to staple foods such as bread and eggs and also to goods such as hand sanitisers and paracetamol. Trading Standards are currently reiterating advice being offered by the Government's Competition and Marketing Authority which is urging retailers to act responsibly during the current crisis. Information supplied by the Competition and Marketing Authority can be found at

Whilst acknowledging that retailers are free to apply their own prices to goods and often need to cover increased costs levied by wholesalers ,Trading Standards are urging retailers to act responsibly  in the current circumstances to avoid undermining public confidence in the independent retail sector and to prevent the less well-off being denied essential food, pharmaceutical and sanitary products.

Retailers are being strongly advised to avoid the practice of dual pricing whereby goods are pack marked or marked with a price on the shelves, but consumers are charged a higher price at the till. This practice is illegal and, if caught, retailers could face prosecution.

Trading Standards are also concerned that suppliers of food supplements, herbal remedies and other treatments may be tempted to make false or unsupported claims about the ability of products to cure, prevent or treat the symptoms of coronavirus. No substance or treatment available at retail level will prevent or cure coronavirus and any such claims made regarding goods are likely to be illegal and will be thoroughly investigated by Trading Standards.

Traders or consumers seeking advice or wishing to report matters to Trading Standards should contact their local authority Trading Standards Service via the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 2231133.  For complaints about traders in the Reading Borough, photos of evidence of dual pricing or coronavirus claims can be sent to  Please include the trader's address.

Retailers who wish to report suspicious or apparently unjustified price rises by wholesalers or suppliers can also contact the Competition and Markets authority at

Our Trading Standards Team is responsible for maintaining the fairness of the trading environment in Reading  by protecting the interests of consumers and reputable traders. We do this by investigating complaints about goods or services and giving advice and guidance to businesses. 

Our Trading Standards team is responsible for maintaining the fairness of the trading environment in Reading  by protecting the interests of consumers and reputable traders. We do this by investigating complaints about goods or services and giving advice and guidance to businesses. 

Complaints about goods or services

If you think that goods or services you have bought may be faulty, dangerous or misdescribed, or if you feel you were misled or pressured into buying something, go to the Citizen's Advice website to find out what to do. If you report the problem via the Citizen's Advice Helpline, 0808 223 1133, they will send it on to our Trading Standards Team for review.

Age-restricted goods

If you are concerned that a trader is selling alcohol or other age-restricted goods to under-age children, you can report your suspicions to us via the Citizen's Advice website or by phoning 0808 223 1133.

Loan shark

A loan shark is someone who lends money without permission to trade from the Financial Conduct Authority, and whose conduct is unscrupulous. If you suspect a loan shark, you can report them anonymously via the website.


Scams are misleading or fraudulent offers designed to 'con' you out of money. They may be received by post, email, telephone, text or face to face. The Citizen's Advice Bureau has a lot of information about common scams and how to avoid them. The Care Act 2014 and Mental Capacity Act 2005 can protect those being scammed who have care and support needs.

If you want to report a scam to us, call the Citizen's Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133 and they will pass the information to us.

Doorstep crime

The Citizen's Advice website explains your rights and offers tips on how to deal with doorstep sellers and avoid becoming a victim.

If you, or someone you know, has a cold caller right now, contact our Trading Standards Team.

Rogue traders

Reading is part of the Buy With Confidence scheme which lists over 1000 traders in the South of England who have passed a rigorous customer satisfaction check.

This scheme helps you to identify honest, reliable workmen and allows reputable businesses to stand out from the rest. If something does go wrong with a Buy with Confidence trader, scheme members have to respond to complaints quickly and fairly. If the problem continues, report it to us via Citizen's Advice on 0808 223 1133.

Search for a reputable business or join the scheme.


The Over Weight Lorry Scheme is in place to record details of lorries that are suspected of using unsuitable roads or not sticking to the limits and restrictions. If the vehicle is ignoring the legal limits and restrictions, the Trading Standards team will contact the company and warn them that if they continue it may result in formal action. 

Report an over weight lorry


Reading Community Alcohol Partnerships bring together local retailers and licensees, trading standards, police, health services, education providers and other local stakeholders to tackle the problem of underage drinking and associated anti-social behaviour.


You need to apply for a lower tier licence if you wish to store over 30kgs of fireworks:

  • 30 kg of Hazard Type 1 or 2 explosives, or 
  • 100 kg of Hazard Type 3 explosives, or 
  • 250 kg of Hazard Type 4 explosives

Most consumer fireworks, shotgun ammunition, marine distress flares etc are Hazard Type 4 explosives. If you are in any doubt, consult your supplier. If you wish to store more than the above quantities, up to a maximum of 2000 kg of any Hazard Type, then you need to apply for an upper tier licence.


From 1 October 2014, The Petroleum (Consolidation) Regulations 2014 will replace the requirement to licence your petrol storage with a requirement to hold a Petroleum Storage Certificate (PSC).

If you require a PSC, your premises will be subject to an inspection by one of our team to ensure that they are suitable for storing petrol. The frequency of inspections is determined by a risk rating of your premises. 

Adult safeguarding

Trading Standards work in partnership with the  team work to protect vulnerable adults from financial and other forms of abuse. 

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