Advice to Street Traders From Trading Standards

This advice is provided to help you understand consumer rights and the requirements of social distancing.

Do I have to accept returns of goods, such as clothing from customers?

It is understandable that you may have concerns about accepting the return of certain types of goods such as clothing. However, consumer rights have not been changed and the position remains that faulty goods may be returned for a full refund within 30 days of the customer taking possession of the goods. You are not required to accept returns or offer an exchange because the customer has changed their mind. Further information is available at

The government guidance recommends that any goods which have been returned should be stored separately from your other stock. Please see below.

Should I let customers try on clothes or handle items?

The current government advice is that you should limit customer handling of merchandise, for example, through different display methods, new signage or rotation of high-touch stock. The guidance is that you should not allow customers to try on clothes.

Ideally you should store items that have been returned, donated, brought in for repair or extensively handled, for example tried on shoes or clothes, in a container or separate room for 72 hours, or clean such items with usual cleaning products, before displaying them on the shop floor for sale. Materials used for cleaning can be disposed of normally.

Consider placing protective coverings on large items that may require customer testing or use, for example, furniture, beds or seats. Ensuring frequent cleaning of these coverings between uses, using usual cleaning products.

Can I display a sign which says, “No Refund” or “No Exchange”?

It is a criminal offence for a business to make statements which mislead consumers as to their statutory rights. You must not display signs which makes such statements.

What should I do to maintain social distancing at my stall?

Customers should always stand at least 2 metres apart. You will need to think about the size of your stall and the maximum number of customers you can serve at any one time. You may wish to place a sign saying for example “2 customers at a time”.

What should I do to make my stall safe?

The current government advice is that you need to make sure that your stall and work area are kept clean.

You should take the following steps:

Please Note:

Government guidance and advice is subject to change. For the most up to date advice please visit the government guidance at

If you have any further queries not covered by this advice and the links provided please contact the Trading Standards team at or call 0207 361 3002.