One of the best ways to keep shop owners and businesses in line is the “mystery shopper” effect. When a company feels that someone is going to come in to their store and evaluate them on their level of service, they will aim to provide a high level of service. There is a lot to be said for the fact that store owners should be providing a high level of service at all times to their customers but most people would accept that there will be an ebb of flow in standards. The use of a “mystery shopper” is particularly loved by franchise owners and regional managers as it provides them with an evaluation of a store that they may not always spend a lot of time in.
There is also a lot to be said for the sting. You will find that stores will often hear about a mystery shopper coming in, and if there is a belief or expectation that an evaluation is on its way, the behaviour of the store employees will be better than normal. This isn’t a true reflection of everyday life for a business, so it is crucial that business owners can get a true evaluation of what is taking place. This means that they will send in people unannounced and with no fanfare at all. Then, the person will report back on their findings and a true evaluation can be made on a firm.
The Sting can be of benefit to many Businesses
This helps to keep businesses in line but it also seems as though the sting is becoming a regular feature of the work undertaken by Trading Standards. Trading Standards teams across the country are highly dependent on people informing them of stores or traders breaking rules or acting in an appropriate manner. This will be the starting point for an investigation but this alone isn’t going to be enough to allow for charges to be made or for bans to be placed on stores. There is a need for proper evidence to be gathered and this is where the work of undercover professionals can provide Trading Standards teams with all of the information that they need.
A shopkeeper in Nelson had been caught by the local Trading Standards team, and he was found to be selling tobacco illegally. However, this wasn’t enough of a punishment for him and the store owner found himself in court again at a later date after he was found to be selling fake cigarettes from another store that he ran.
This led to Mohammed Ali Anwar receiving a community order, and an order to undertake unpaid work. This was after imported products were found on a shelf at his Day To Day Bargains store. The products were placed on a shelf to avoid being detected by sniffer dogs. Sniffer dogs are becoming an increasingly common part of a Trading Standards team undertaking a sting, and they will likely feature more often in the future.
Businesses Facing Financial difficulties will often take Bigger Risks
It turns out that the store started selling these counterfeit products when they ran into financial difficulties. It is easy to see why so many stores are in a difficult financial position these days, and it is also easy to see why so many businesses would be keen to take steps to avoid running out of money. The only problem comes when businesses take illegal steps to raise more funds.
It is only natural that a business owner will do whatever they can to remain in business but they need to remember that the penalties and punishments associated with this sort of behaviour can cause them bigger punishments. The risks involved with such behaviour will ensure that many business owners do not take illegal steps to sell products but there will always be some people that feel any risk, no matter the level, is worth taking to remain in business.
Any business owner that is facing charges of selling illegal or counterfeit goods will find that calling on an experienced defence solicitor is essential. There is a need to obtain the best standard of backing and support for this sort of case, because there can be very high punishments associated with this sort of behaviour. Anyone willing to save their business by putting it at risk should realise that they may end up losing their business for another reason.
Andrew Reilly is a freelance writer with a focus on news stories and consumer interest articles. He has been writing professionally for 9 years but has been writing for as long as he can care to remember. When Andrew isn’t sat behind a laptop or researching a story, he will be found watching a gig or a game of football.