Iain Ramsay and Ian Arnott respond to George Monbiot’s article on cuts to trading standards and the lack of law enforcement
George Monbiot is right to draw attention to the absence of enforcement of consumer protection law, and people running into “a wall of unaccountable, opaque bureaucracy” when they attempt to report scams (My friend was the victim of a scam – and cuts mean she can do nothing about it, 12 May). I encountered the same problem when trying to contact trading standards in relation to a national retailer in Canterbury that was continuing to run a “closing down” sale for many months – in my opinion, a breach of relevant consumer protection regulations. I was unable to contact trading standards directly, and could only identify relevant officials by making a freedom of information request to the council for the trading standards annual report.
The government has claimed that leaving the European Union will not affect standards of consumer protection in the UK, but even if this claim is correct, laws are of little use if they are not properly enforced.
Emeritus professor of law, Kent Law School, University of Kent
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