Our Trading Standards team offer the following guidance
for buyers and sellers at car boot sales and collectors
If you have any doubts over the safety of the goods you
wish to sell - don't sell them.
If you sell at a car boot sale it is strongly recommended that
you become familiar with the legal implications of doing so. It is
a sad fact that while there are many genuine "non trader" sellers
and many legitimate "traders", there are also many non legitimate
traders who sell at car boot sales under the guise of private
individuals, with a view to escaping tax, VAT and their legal and
moral obligations to their customers.
How do you know whether you are a trader or a private
Ask yourself whether the goods you are selling
are your own personal property. If they are not and you are buying
goods for the express purpose of selling them for a profit you are
very likely to be considered a trader under the law. Also, if you
sell at car boot sales on a regular basis, even if it is only once
every couple of months, you may be regarded as a trader. And if you
employ anyone and/or sell the same type of goods from other venues,
such as markets or from home, you are almost certainly a trader in
the eyes of the law.
Guidance for sellers
We can only identify some of the common
areas of concern on this page, but if you're not sure please
contact Trading Standards for guidance.
Given the potential risks, it is advisable
that electrical goods are examined by a competent electrician
before being put on sale. In any event:
- Most electrical appliances must be supplied
with a fitted standard plug; this does not apply to appliances
intended on being permanently connected to the fixed wiring.
- Plugs should be marked as being BS BEAB, BSI
or ASIA approved with insulation on live and neutral pins. You
should also check that the cord grip is fitted correctly and the
mains lead is not frayed or broken.
- Make sure that guards and other safety
devises are fitted and working thereby providing adequate
protection against potential hazards.
- All new electrical goods have to comply with
a range of detailed legislation in order to ensure the safety of
users. They also have to be either earthed or insulated.
Toys must be marked with suitable warnings
about the recommended age of the child they are suitable for.
Again, further advice is available from Trading Standards. In
simple case toys must:
- Have no accessible pints and edges.
- Must not be flammable.
- Be able to be stopped quickly if they are
- Not release toxic chemicals, e.g. from
- Not, if electrical, operate at more that 24
- Be clean and hygienic.
- Have no easily removable small parts.
- Not represent an choking hazard.
- Have instructions on safe use.
- All new toys have to bear a CE mark (to show
that toy safety standards are met), the name and address of the
manufacturers and other requirements.
All second hand all upholstered furniture must
comply with the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety)
Regulations. This means that they must be match resistant or
contain a fire resistant interliner and all fillings must pass fire
resistant tests (the only exemption is for furniture manufacture
before the 1950's) compliance should be indicated by the presence
of permanent labels on the furniture. The same rules apply if
selling new upholstered furniture.
Videos and DVDs
These should be labeled with the appropriate
classification and not sold to anyone underage. For example, an
"18" classification should not be sold to anyone under 18.
Remember, only licensed sex shops sell "R18" videos.
A number of goods are controlled by specific
controls. Examples include oil heaters, prams and pushchairs,
tyres, hood cords in children’s garments etc. Advice on specific
product safety issues will also be available from Trading Standards
If you regularly trade in second-hand goods
you have to register your business premises. You can get an
application form from Number One Riverside, Smith Street, Rochdale OL16 1XU or call 01706 864255.
To sell or have in possession for sale
counterfeit goods is a criminal offence. If you do sell
counterfeits you risk prosecution and the forfeiture of the goods
together with a fine or possible imprisonment. As well as
counterfeit goods you should avoid selling items which infringe the
copyright of others, for example, unauthorised smart cards for
satellite TV decoders.
If you are trading at car boot sales,
consumers are legally entitled to expect that any items sold
- As described
- Of satisfactory quality
- Fit for purchase
If you are a private individual selling
unwanted goods, consumers are entitled to put faith in any
description you apply. For example, if you describe a watch as
"working" it should be.
Other seller obligations
- If you are a trader you will need to declare
earnings etc. for tax purposes.
- If you are trading under a company name
rather than as an individual you will need to publicly
display you trading name.
- Price indications should not be
- Goods bought duty free (e.g. perfumes,
alcohol and cigarettes etc) should not be re-sold.
- Fireworks, firearms, air guns and other
weapons should not be sold at car boot sales.