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Consumer Advice

The first step to being a confident consumer is to have a clear understanding of your rights.

What to do when things go wrong

Do you still need help?

Contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service [external link] or call them on 0808 223 1133

Please note that Trading Standards does not provide consumer advice or dispute resolution services.


Scams take many forms and include:

  • fake prize draws
  • romance scams
  • fraudulent clairvoyants
  • cost of living scams
  • fake emails or texts
  • fake lotteries
  • bogus bank or card providers
  • doorstep scams
  • rogue traders

Scammers will use all methods of communication to contact you.

Their ultimate aim is conning you out of your cash.

You may not realise at first that you are being scammed.

Red flags

Watch out for these red flags, they are good indicator that a scam is taking place.

Bogus bank or card providers

Someone claiming to be your bank or finance provider asks you for your financial details, your pin number or password.

Your bank or finance provider will never ask you for this information out of the blue.

Fake emails or texts

Texts or emails contain links or attachments.

Never click on links and never open attachments from unknown sources. They could contain viruses or spyware.

Requests for personal information

The scammer asks you to give them, or confirm, your personal details.

Never give out your personal information. It could be used to defraud you.

  • Did they ask you to keep it a secret.
  • At some point during the scam, the person will ask you for money or payment up front.
  • Is it too good to be true? It's always best to trust your instincts.

For more information and advice on scams

Report scams

Report scams to:

No rogue trader zones

Trading Standards worked in partnership with Durham Police to set up No Rogue Trader Zones in Darlington.

A No Rogue Trader Zone is a clearly defined area where residents have expressed a view that they would prefer not to be cold called at home by traders selling goods and services door-to-door.

The aim of the zones is to give residents the confidence to say NO to uninvited salespeople and to warn rogue traders and cold callers that they are not welcome.

Darlington has five zones covering the following areas:

  • High Coniscliffe.
  • Fryer Crescent.
  • Barnes Road, Barnes Close, Kew Rise, Mowden Hall Drive, Conyers Avenue, Conyers Grove and Chester Grove.
  • Smithfield Road.
  • Elton Grove.

Stop loan sharks

Loan sharks are moneylenders that operate outside the law.

  • Have you been offered a cash loan?
  • Did the lender fail to give you any paperwork?
  • Are you being charged a very high interest rate which means you are paying lots more money on top of the loan amount?
  • Have you been threatened?
  • Has the lender taken possession of your bank card, benefit card, passport or any valuables?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, you may have borrowed from an illegal moneylender.

Report it to Stop Loan Sharks [ external link] by calling0300 555 2222 in safety and in confidence.

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