An annual review has highlighted the work of the Trading Standards Service to protect consumers in Aberdeenshire.
Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee (ISC) recently heard some of the highlights of its achievements, outlined in the recently published report.
Trading Standards staff endeavour to protect consumers and promote safe and fair trading, while providing support and advice to businesses.
The review highlights that bogus doorstep selling is a priority concern in Aberdeenshire.
Trading Standards participated in a number of joint working initiatives with other enforcement agencies.
Working alongside Police Scotland, Trading Standards officers carried out joint patrols in areas thought to be subject to rogue trader activity.
They carried out spot checks, issuing guidance and advice to traders and householders where required.
Another anti-fraud initiative identified around 500 people in Aberdeenshire as potential vitcims of postal and internet scams, providing their names and contact details.
By studying the list of those potentially at risk, mainly vulnerable adults, the Trading Standards service was able to better protect and inform them.
One victim of junk mail scamming was an 80-year-old woman recently diagnosed with dementia.
Over several months she lost £5,000 to junk mail organisations, but was reimbursed with almost half the money after Trading Standards were involved.
A nuisance call blocker was also installed on her telephone.
Local young people were also duped by fraudsters operating websites designed to create the impression that they were linked to the official Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency.
They ended up paying £100 for a provisional driving license, instead of the £50 which the DVLA, via its official gov.uk website, charges.
Trading Standards was able to put seized counterfeit clothes to good use by distributing them to homeless charities across Scotland and the UK, after the offending fake logos had been removed.
A new officer was appointed to enforce laws controlling the sale of age-restricted products, such as cigarettes and fireworks.
Under-cover and under-age agents attempting to buy age-restricted products found it impossible to buy fireworks in Aberdeenshire, and only 27% were able to buy cigarettes - an improvement on the year before.
The review provides a fuller understanding of what the Trading Standards service does on a day-today basis and you can see it on Aberdeenshire Council’s website.
ISC chairman Peter Argyle said: “The trading standards service does an excellent job and many consumers will see the benefit of their expertise at some point, from ensuring they get the quantity of petrol they paid for to dealing with online, telephone or mail scams.”