Trading Standards

The motor industry is littered with Trading Standards prosecutions, some justified and some, which occur because trading standards have warned dealerships in the past and its advice has been ignored.

Generally speaking, Trading Standards are the, “good guys” of statutory enforcement and would prefer to proceed by conciliation and usually with stay a prosecution if remedial action is taken However, its investigators occasionally stray beyond the norms and will pursue an investigation without cautioning the dealership representative anything they say may be used in potential proceedings. Likewise, they will request documentation but have no entitlement to it without evidence they have a genuine suspicion offences has been committed – they are not entitled to engage in a fishing expedition and if a dealership refuses to co-operate, they will have to resort to the Courts to obtain an order for production of the documentation.

If a dealership receives a Trading Standards’ visit, the policy should be one of “resistive cooperation,” in that there should be no immediate cooperation but a polite offer of cooperation, if they would put the allegations in writing and return at a later date, after the dealership has had the opportunity to obtain the appropriate advice.

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