Consumer Advice

Consumer Advice

The City Council no longer provides a Consumer Advice service. Consumers can access any advice that they may need through the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133 or by visiting

To report someone you suspect of a criminal action such as selling illegal goods please submit an online form.

E-Bikes and E-Scooters Fire Safety Advice

E-bikes and e-scooters are becoming increasingly popular. Most are powered by lithium-ion batteries which can be charged in the home. The use of these batteries in a wide range of household products is becoming increasingly common.

It is important when charging e-bikes and e-scooters, you do so safely to avoid a risk of a fire starting and putting your families and homes at risk.

With an increased use of e-bikes and e-scooters, comes a corresponding fire safety concern associated with their charging and storage. The use of these products is expected to continue to rise. Some fire services and fire investigators have seen a rise in e-bike and e-scooter battery fires.

Currently there is limited data relating to the number of fires, but London Fire Brigade reported 8 fires caused by e-bikes and e-scooters in 2019. This rose to twenty-four in 2020 and fifty-nine by December 2021.

On occasions batteries can fail catastrophically, they can ‘explode’ and/or lead to a rapidly developing fire. For media stories go to: BBC News and Sky News of the 27 July 2023 and the Chronicle of the 31 July 2023. 

For further information go to NFCC or access the poster (pdf 204 kb) from OPSS.   

OPSS Guidance

If you own an e-bike or e-scooter or are thinking of purchasing one for yourself or someone else, please take note of this Important Safety Message from the UK’s national product regulator, the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS).

E-bikes and e-scooters use large lithium-ion batteries which can present a risk of serious fire or explosion in certain circumstances. While these can be used safely, there have been a number of fire incidents involving lithium-ion batteries in e-bikes and e-scooters, including in conversion kits.  

OPSS recommends you follow these five steps when purchasing, using or charging your e-bike or e-scooter to reduce fire risks:

Step 1: RESEARCH - only BUY an e-bike, e-scooter, charger or battery from a known seller and check any product reviews.

Step 2: READ -always READ and FOLLOW the manufacturer's instructions for charging and using e-bikes or e-scooters. 

Step 3: CHECK - not all e-bike or e-scooter batteries and chargers are compatible and safe when used together. Check and only USE the manufacturer's recommended battery or charger. 

Step 4 - CHARGE - always charge in a safe place without blocking exits and always UNPLUG your charger when you have finished charging.  

Step 5: NEVER - attempt to modify or tamper with your battery. 

Proposed Ban on Wet Wipes

On the 22 April 2024 the Government will introduce new world-leading legislation to ban wet wipes containing plastic. Defra intend to bring forward the legislation for England ahead of summer recess, with Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales following by the autumn as part of an aligned approach to bring the ban into force.

Wet wipes containing plastic break down into microplastics over time, which research shows can be harmful to human health and disrupt our ecosystems – with a recent survey showing an average of 20 wet wipes were found per 100 metres of beach surveyed across the UK.

Once in our water environment, wet wipes containing plastic can accumulate biological and chemical pollutants, increasing the risk of harm to the animals and humans who encounter them. Banning them will reduce plastic and microplastic pollution and reduce the volume of microplastics entering wastewater treatment sites when wrongly flushed – meaning our beaches and waterways will benefit from the ban.

Avian Flu

From 26 April 2023, gatherings of all poultry and other captive birds, including ducks, geese and swans are permitted. You need to follow the requirements of the poultry gathering general licence and notify the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) at least 7 days before the event. 

Zonal freedom from highly pathogenic avian influenza for Great Britain

The UK has self-declared zonal freedom from highly pathogenic avian influenza for Great Britain with effect from 29 March 2024. This is in line with World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) rules.

The declaration is being reviewed and will be published by WOAH shortly. This follows Northern Ireland declaring itself free on 31 March 2023.

The UK does not currently have outbreaks of HPAI in poultry or other captive birds. The current risk to poultry from HPAI H5 in Great Britain is low. However, HPAI H5N1 continues to be found in wild birds in Great Britain and across Europe with outbreaks occurring in poultry and other captive birds in several countries in Europe.

Keepers should remain vigilant and practice stringent biosecurity to protect the health and welfare of their birds. Find out how to protect your birds in our biosecurity guidance.

New registration requirements for bird keepers in Great Britain

On 19 March the government announced new measures to help protect the poultry sector from bird flu.

All bird flu cases and disease control zones

There are no current disease control zones in England.

For further information go to

Pricing Survey

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has now reviewed the way a range of grocery retailers displayed their prices in-store to assess whether they were clear, accurate and matched the price people were charged at the till.

The review looked at the price marking practices of 139 grocery stores in England and Wales, including supermarket chains, symbol convenience stores (small, independent retailers that operate under a symbol brand name), variety stores and independent food stores.

The CMA conducted on-site inspections and looked at a sample of products – such as fresh fruit and vegetables and products on promotion. During inspections at some stores, the CMA found examples where the retailer was displaying inaccurate prices or failed to display prices at all for certain products. Failing to provide clear and accurate pricing information for products on sale is a breach of consumer law.

Overall, the majority of issues were found at independent food stores and symbol convenience stores. The most common types of issues seen were missing prices, conflicting prices (instances where prices indicated on products conflicted with those shown on shelf edge labels) and prices not being displayed sufficiently close to products.

There were also issues with prices not being clearly legible, the selling price being obscured, and multibuy promotion labels that didn’t specify the price of the items individually.

The percentage of pricing errors found at each type of store were:

Supermarkets: 4.2%
Symbol convenience stores: 14.4%
Variety stores: 5.6%
Independent food stores: 7.8%
Overall, 60% of the errors resulted in a higher price being charged at the till. Further breakdowns by store type can be found in the report. For further detail go to CMA. To access a Poster (pdf 2.6 mb)

Newcastle Citizens Advice

Newcastle Citizens Advice offers free services providing general advice and information across a wide subject area. Amongst the many services Citizens Advice offers help with; debt, housing, benefit entitlements, consumer, and employment issues. They can be found at the City Library, New Bridge Street West, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8AX or contacted on 03442 451 288 or via their website.

National Consumer Week

National Consumer Week is an annual campaign which aims to raise people's awareness of specific consumer issues, and provide support and advice for those who need it. 

The 2024 campaign will run between 20 May and 2 June, and will focus on used cars, supplying consumers with the advice and support they need to feel confident when purchasing as well as support if they are having issues with a car they bought. For further information go to Citizens Advice.

EU Exit

Updated guidance on the changes can be found on   


Which? Consumer Rights website is a resource to help consumers solve their biggest issues, from faulty goods and delayed flights, to dealing with scams and dodgy tradesmen. There are hundreds of easy step-by-step guides and letter templates available to help you seek redress, and simple summaries of important consumer legislation.

Northumbria University Student Law Office

The Student Law Office at Northumbria University offers a free legal service to members of the public facing a range of legal issues. The service is provided by students who are supervised by qualified professional lawyers from the School of Law staff. The Law office deals with over 800 cases annually and have successfully concluded a number of high profile cases. The Student Law Office can be contacted on 0191 2273909 or by email at


The Trading Standards service with the aim of providing updates on our work, produces a newsletter twice a year. To access a copy of our newsletter go to High Standard (pdf 783 kb).

Did you know?

Operation CeCe which is a HMRC sponsored operation delivered by National Trading Standards through local authorities is now fully implemented and achieving significant results across Newcastle.  In 2021-2022 we seized some 611,514 suspected alleged cigarettes together with 194.84 Kg's of suspected alleged Hand Rolling Tobacco. In  2022-2023 we seized some 584,220 suspected illegal cigarettes and 166.15 Kg's of suspected illegal Hand Rolling Tobacco.  

In 2023-2024 we seized some 544,210 suspected illegal cigarettes and 171.5 Kg's of suspected illegal Hand Rolling Tobacco.  

When unlicensed premises are found to be selling illegal tobacco and alcohol, they are at risk of prosecutions as well as the possibility of a Closure Order under the provisions of the Anti-social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014. To see where Closure Orders have been applied for by  Northumbria Police and granted on 3 premises in Newcastle go to the Chronicle of the 26 June 2023 and Tyne Tees of the 26 June 2023.    

Since 2021 as part of Operation Joseph which is delivered on behalf of the Government by the National Trading Standards Board, we have seized and removed from the market some 86,894 non-compliant and illegal vaping products. To see an article related to this work go to the Chronicle of the 15 December 2023. 

Need more information?

Trading Standards service, Department of City Operations, Neighbourhoods and Regulatory Services, Civic Centre, Barras Bridge, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8QH

0808 223 1133

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