What is 'Trading Standards Approved'?
When a trader scheme offers a Trading Standards approved accreditation, it means the scheme is working closely with one or more Trading Standards teams to ensure that their vetting criteria and operation of the scheme meet minimum standards set by Trading Standards. We have found that each scheme actually exceeds these standards in different ways depending on their priorities.
Trading Standards will also have ongoing involvement in the operation of the scheme to input into the vetting process and ensure it remains robust with members operating in a legal, honest and fair way. However, this relationship is advisory and all decisions relating to membership status and operation of these schemes remain with the scheme operator - see limitations below.
Find approved traders
Buckinghamshire & Surrey Trading Standards provides you with a choice of approved traders through partnerships with:
- Checkatrade - this partnership is coming to an end. Although some Checkatrade members will continue to hold approval until their membership renewal, no new applications will be processed. We recognise that many local businesses and residents value the independent Trading Standards endorsement and we want to continue to offer that. We are delighted to say that we will be launching an alternative early in the new year. Our new approach will be great value for money and will be able to work independently of any other scheme, such as Checkatrade, although some businesses may well be keen to join both. We will provide further details as soon as the new scheme is launched. If you are a trader, you can register interest in hearing about the new scheme by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
- TrustMark - see link for more information, email: email@example.com or phone: 0333 555 1234.
A separate scheme, operated by a group of Trading Standards authorities (not including Buckinghamshire and Surrey), continues to operate in both counties under the branding of the Buy with Confidence scheme.
How to become an approved trader
Customers value the reassurance provided by Trading Standards Approved and, to become an approved trader with any of these schemes and display their Trading Standards Approved mark, you must meet that scheme's membership criteria and pass its rigorous background checks.
Each scheme's website holds details of what is required and how to apply. Follow the links to find out more.
- Join Checkatrade - new members of Checkatrade will not be Trading Standards approved - please see above
- Buy With Confidence
Benefits for traders
Each scheme is different in its offer to businesses and may provide a different range of services inclusive in the membership fee. It is worth comparing these to ensure they match your business objectives.
Each may provide a different range of services inclusive in the membership fee. However they will all provide the benefit of marketing, combined with the sought after 'Trading Standards approved' status, which offers consumers the reassurance they need when looking for local tradesmen. Other generic benefits for businesses are:
- Having "Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards approved" Mark.
- Well managed and regular online feedback from your customers.
- Scheme promotion and advertising.
- Web page profiles about your business
- Marketing support materials including vehicle vinyls, graphics for the schemes Trading Standards approved logo for stationery.
Limitations of the schemes
If you are looking for an approved trader, do check the scheme websites for current membership status and other customers' feedback. Whilst Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards work with the schemes to ensure they meet minimum standards, we do not approve individual businesses. All approvals and memberships are issued by the scheme operators and each of these will offer support through their complaint handling processes.
The approval of a business does not mean that Trading Standards and/or Buckinghamshire or Surrey County Councils:
- can guarantee the financial stability of the business
- has individually checked the quality of any works, goods or services provided
- can give any guarantee or warranty as to the value for money of works, goods or services compared with a competitor, not that they will be satisfactory or fit for the purpose.
Consumers must therefore rely on their own assessment of suitability or any specific offer or assurance made by that scheme operator when choosing a supplier or service provider.