Trading standards - news

Recalls - August 2014

We know that it is not always convenient to return a recalled product, especially if it is an item you rely on using every day. But, the recall notices are there to keep consumers safe!

The small inconvenience of returning a recalled item is worth it when you consider the potential hazards a faulty product can make, for example, dangers of injury, illness and reactions (in the case of unsafe food), electrocution and fire.

Why not check the sites below to see if you have been affected?

Trading Standards Institute

Food Standards Agency

Overloading your sockets? - August 2014

Most people use extension leads in their homes often using 4-way bar adaptors to increase the number of appliances that they can plug into a wall socket. Or, even create a daisy chain plugging one adapter into another creating yet more. Although there is space to plug in four appliances, this does not mean it is always safe to do so.

Different electrical appliances use different amounts of power. To avoid the risk of overheating and possibly fire, you should never plug into an extension lead or socket appliances that together use more than 13 amps or 3000 watts of energy. Typically, heated appliances, for example hair driers and hair straighteners, use far more energy than others meaning simultaneous use should be avoided.

Use the online socket overload calculator and plug in some typical household appliances to see the effect on the load. The calculator is provided by the Electrical Safety Council to help you to avoid overloading your sockets and reduce the risk of fire.

Visit the Electrical Safety Council website for more home and appliance safety tips.

Distance selling - July 2014

The Sale of Goods Act gives us certain consumer rights but greater protection is given where products are purchased at a distance. There is now even greater protection for internet shoppers, meaning we don’t always have to see before we buy.

The new regulations have extended the cancellation period from 7 working days to two weeks. Should you change your mind after you have received the goods, you can return them to the trader within the cancellation period. However, you will usually be responsible for the cost of returning the item.

Guidance on the new regulations

Overloaded vehicles - July 2014

In July this year two cases of overloaded vehicles in Bracknell have gone to court. In one case, both the driver and the company for whom he worked were prosecuted fining the company a total of £1,345 for a vehicle 46 per cent overloaded. In the second case, the owner was fined £1,972.50 for a vehicle 43 per cent overloaded.

It is the responsibility of all road users to ensure their vehicle is not overloaded. Make sure you know what you put in the vehicle and the vehicle’s manufacturer weight limit. These cases are a reminder that it is not only the employer and the owner of the overloaded vehicle that are liable to prosecution; it is also the driver.

Assuring insurance - July 2014

We all may have home insurance, but do we actually know what it covers? Now may be a good time to check your home insurance policy and make sure that it satisfies all your household needs. Don’t just assume something is not your responsibility without checking it first. It is even the home owner’s responsibility to ensure all garden trees and shrubs are kept under control so that no damage is done to their neighbours’ property.

Recent examples have incurred massive costs in damages, where spreading roots have caused damage to a neighbours' property.

If you have overgrown trees or shrubs, get an informed opinion from a qualified tree surgeon, making sure that you get recommendations from family and friends or check our Approved traders in Bracknell Forest list and avoid any nasty surprises.

Scam Awareness Month - May 2014

Trading standards have seen a massive boost in complaints this year making an increase around 25 per cent nationwide. As not everybody reports all the scams they have seen, the Citizens Advice Bureau estimates as much as 4 million people could be scammed each year.

The Trading Standards Institute has labelled May 2014 as Scam Awareness Month creating awareness and warning consumers about fraudsters preying on hard-up households.

Most scammers are smart and people are just as likely to be conned over the phone and via text messages as they are through emails and websites. This is most common with financial documents or websites, so extra special care should be taken when using any secure financial information.

New analysis suggests that, on average:

  • over a third of scams (34 per cent) were over the phone
  • almost a quarter of scams (24 per cent) were through visits to a website
  • 16 per cent were letter or fax scams
  • one in ten scams (10 per cent) were through emails

Make sure no scam is left unreported and contact either Trading Standards or the CAB on 08444 111444 if you are suspicious.

For more information, please visit the Trading Standards Institute website.

Food hygiene standards - April 2014

Did you know all restaurants, takeaways, pubs and other places selling food get a rating for food hygiene, known as the Food Hygiene Ratings Scheme? Each premises is given a rating from 5 (the best) to 0.

You can see all the ratings for Bracknell Forest on the Food Standards Agency website. If you're doing well, it's a great way to recommend your business, and if it's not what you want then just talk to the Environmental Health Team about how you can improve. 

For further advice on the rating scheme in Bracknell Forest, please visit our food safety page or contact the Environmental Health Team using our Environmental Health enquiry form.

Phone scammers - March 2014

Trading standards officers are warning residents to be aware of telephone calls from scammers trying to obtain customers PIN numbers and handing over their bank cards.

These scammers operate by pretending to be from your bank; they inform you that your bank card has been used fraudulently and ask you to hang up and redial your bank to ascertain that their call is genuine. However, the fraudsters remain on the line. So, when you think you have got through to your bank you are in fact still talking with the impostor which is when they ask you to give them your PIN number to verify your account. Finally, to obtain your card, they offer to send a courier round to your house to collect the card in person.

Please remember that banks never ask for your PIN number. This is unique to you and should never be revealed to anyone.

Used and abused or previously cherished?

Second hand cars are one of the most complained about products to Trading Standards and Citizens Advice. With this in mind Bracknell Forest Trading standards, in conjunction with Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA), have just conducted a check of used car dealers across the borough.

The good news was that after visiting 10 premises and inspecting 23 vehicles, no major issues were found. Whilst all vehicles conformed to the legal requirements, advise was given on low brake pads, brake fluid and tyre treads as well as illegal modifications such as dark tinted windows.

If you have issues with a car bought from a second hand car dealer, in the Bracknell Forest area, please let us know by contacting us via the Trading Standards enquiry form.

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