As a corporate employee, trading compliance compliance is unlikely to keep you up night (unless that’s your real job). However, as a self-employed freelancer, you need to protect your livelihood and professional reputation.
As a one-person band, it is your responsibility to ensure that you are always up to date on tax deadlines and trade standards. But what exactly do trading standards mean to you?
What are trading standards?
Trade standards as we know them today are a government service designed to protect consumers from any trade in goods or services that:
They hold companies and service providers responsible for the legal standards they must comply with. If not, customers have the right to report them to the Trading Standards.
What do trade standards do?
Commercial standards were originally known as the Weights and Measurements Department. This was because the department was responsible for ensuring the consistent integrity of the commercial weighing and measuring.
Over the decades, the department took on more responsibility and, over time, dealt with more laws, regulations and codes of conduct. As a result, the department expanded and began to work more closely with other regulators, which eventually became the trading standards we know today.
Can a freelancer be reported to the Trading Standards?
Yes, anyone offering goods or services to consumers can be reported to trade standards if the customer believes there is a reason to do so. Common reasons someone might report a company to Trading Standards are:
- Feeling misled – If a customer receives a product or service that does not match what was advertised, he may feel tempted to buy under false pretenses.
- Be left in danger – Customers who are endangered or exposed to physical harm as a direct result of your product or information can complain about you to Trading Standards. This also applies if you fail to complete a project and the customer is in a compromising situation as a result.
- Counterfeit or counterfeit goods – When a customer purchases branded items that they believe are genuine at the time of sale, but which they actually receive, are counterfeit or counterfeit.
- Inappropriate buying pressure – Because the customer feels unnecessarily pressured to buy goods or services against his will or against his better knowledge.
Tips to avoid problems with trading standards
To avoid hassle with trade standards, it is mostly a matter of common sense and common sense. But when it comes to your business and your livelihoods, it can never hurt to be careful.
Don’t over-promise or over-exaggerate
When you’re trying to get a new client or get a new project on, it can be tempting to say whatever it takes to seal the deal. However, if you over-commit or overdo your offering, you only risk causing customers to feel misled or undervalued.
Avoid too many harsh sales tactics
Whenever you are trying to acquire or retain customers, try again to avoid over-convincing sales and marketing tactics that could be misunderstood as forceful or intrusive. If a customer says no, respect their decision and move on without trying to twist their arm.
Be open, honest, and transparent
The best way to avoid the misunderstanding or misunderstanding that could lead to a Trading Standards report is to be authentic and honest with your customers. As long as you stay sincere and true to your word at all times, you shouldn’t get into trouble.
Conclude contracts with customers
In addition to honest communication with your customers, documenting all agreements is also a best practice. Having both parties signing a contract will help you meet expectations and is a valuable resource to refer to if you have any questions or problems.
Never leave a project incomplete
This goes without saying, but to avoid disgruntled customers rushing straight to the Citizens Advice Bureau, you should always accompany each work through to completion, even if you overcome a few hurdles along the way.
Now that we’ve demystified the subject of freelance work and trade standards a bit, hopefully you can continue to provide your services (fair and legal) with the utmost confidence.
Visit our Information and Resource Hub for more tips and advice for the freelancer, including how to manage your accounts and taxes.