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Trading Standards is the name given to local authority departments in the UK formerly known as Weights and Measures. Frequently, the Trading Standards enforcement functions of a local authority are performed by a small part of a larger department which enforces a wide range of other legislation: environmental health, health and safety, licensing and so on. These departments investigate commercial organisations that trade outside the law or in unethical ways. They attempt to remedy breaches by advice or by formal enforcement action.
They were originally labelled as Weights and Measures Departments because their primary function was to maintain the integrity of commercial weighing and measuring by routine testing of equipment and goods. Other legislation was allocated to them as time went on.
They now deal with more diverse issues under a wide variety of Acts, Orders and Codes of Practice, as set out by central government, the Food Standards Agency and the Office of Fair Trading. Such legislation includes the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, the Consumer Protection Act 1987, the Consumer Credit Act 1974, the Food Safety Act 1990 and the Price Marking Order 2004. Recent priorities include prevention of sales of counterfeit goods, sales of tobacco and alcohol to under-age buyers, and action to prevent exploitation of vulnerable consumers by scams and doorstep crime.