There are a great many review sites out there. Why should Trading Standards get involved?
As long ago as 1996 ...
Integrity is the most important issue
As long ago as 1996, a Trading Standards report (Consumer Protection for Householders) concluded that the single most important issue when choosing a firm is their integrity: "save in areas involving safety, integrity is of equal, if not greater, importance than .. specific professional skills in terms of ensuring consumer satisfaction". Their research showed that 53% of all choices were for businesses that customers already knew or had been recommended by someone they trust. This shows the power of word of mouth.
20 years on ...
Consumers trust recommendations more than trade bodies
Rightmove conducted a survey into they way in which consumers choose a removal company. This showed that consumers trust recommendations from previous customers more than any other factor, including membership of a trade body.
Consumers don't trust advertising ...
They trust recommendations.
This Nielsen shows that 70% of consumers trust online reviews - almost as much as recommendations from people they know and far higher than the 50% who (mis)trust advertising.
Consumers prefer reviews ...
From independent trusted sources
Rightmove asked consumers how much they trust reviews from different sources:
Trading Standards is trusted
The evidence shows that consumers have come to rely on reviews and they would most like to see these collected or validated by a consumer organisation such as Trading Standards.