Illicit booze and alcohol

Illicit booze and alcohol

New research published by Trading Standards has found that the rising cost-of-living has become a key factor in the increase in scams, counterfeit goods unsafe products and food fraud.

Data from the new Impacts and Outcomes Report 2021/22, from ACTSO (the Association of Chief Trading Standards Officers) found there has been a surge in a range of practices that are harming consumers – including a trebling in the volume of counterfeit goods seized. This includes Trading Standards seizing over four million counterfeit products with a market value of £111M - three times more than the previous year and a significant increase in the amount of illicit tobacco, with 14.9M illicit cigarettes seized.

Chief executive at CTSI, John Herriman said “this latest research suggests that our cost-of-living crisis is likely to exacerbate already high levels of detriment UK consumers are facing”.

“The current economic situation is inevitably causing consumers and businesses to tighten their belts, but in consequence unscrupulous and rogue traders are exploiting this increased vulnerability. The data clearly shows not only the significant impact Trading Standards is making to address consumer detriment but also that the risks to consumers from scams, counterfeit and illicit goods, and false and misleading prices are on the rise.

“It is imperative to the national economy that that we build and maintain consumer confidence, and this is very much dependent upon us having confidence in the integrity of businesses. By tackling unscrupulous practices whether that is preventing food fraud or removing counterfeit goods, Trading Standards is an absolutely vital component in underpinning confidence in businesses and from consumers, and ultimately helping the UK steer the choppy waters ahead.”

Chair of ACTSO, Steve Ruddy, added: “It is clear that in this cost-of-living crisis, the risks to consumers from the safety of illicit and counterfeit goods, scams, false claims about prices, and energy efficiency are all growing. Trading Standards has a vital role to play in addressing all of these risks; demands are continuing to grow for what are already very stretched services.”