Am I a trader?

Casual or occasional sellers may still be traders in the eyes of the law. There are no hard and fast rules, but, if the answer to any of these following questions is ‘yes’, you’re almost certainly a trader:

  • do you buy goods in especially to resell; for example from newspaper adverts or a cash and carry?
  • do you sell goods at boot sales regularly; once every couple of months or more (even if sales are not a major source of income)
  • do you employ anyone to help you with sales?
  • do you sell goods from home, in the street, at markets or fairs, or through online marketplaces?

If you're a trader, there are some basic rules and principles that you need to follow.

If you’re not a trader (for example, you’re selling goods occasionally that belong to you), consumer law does not apply (although if you describe goods in any way, you must do so accurately, if you don’t, the buyer is entitled to a refund). However, we strongly recommend that private sellers follow good practice where:

  • it’s essential that goods like electric fires and irons are safe and reliable. We advise consumers to steer clear of buying such items at car boot sales or similar, and likewise caution against selling them
  • caution is taken with clothing, such as nightwear which might not meet flammability requirements, and children's' coats with hood-cords can pose a hazard
  • look over children’s toys over to make sure there are no sharp points or small parts that can be pulled off; you should sell with the original packaging if you still have it
  • look over children’s toys over to make sure there are no sharp points or small parts that can be pulled off; you should sell with the original packaging if you still have it

We also urge caution with prams, pushchairs, paraffin heaters and oil heaters.

Whether you’re a regular trader or not, you should be ready to co-operate with trading standards officers who may visit car boot sales at any time to carry out inspections, give advice and investigate complaints.

Keep up to date with Trading Standards by visiting their Facebook page

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