The Real Deal Campaign for Fake Free Markets

At the heart of the Real Deal is our voluntary Charter, signed by a market operator and their local trading standards service – demonstrating a commitment to work together to prevent counterfeits and other illicit goods being sold at the market. Click here to download


Markets are great!

Markets are a great British tradition, bringing many economic and social benefits to local communities. They provide bargains for shoppers, lively attractions for families and visitors, and an environment for legitimate, local businesses to trade successfully.

So what’s the problem?

Markets (which include occasional sales, non-chartered markets and car boot sales) are not uniformly regulated and, therefore, can offer easy opportunities for those who wish to trade illegally, particularly in counterfeit and pirated goods. A market’s reputation as a safe shopping environment can very quickly be undermined if it is infiltrated by unscrupulous individuals selling counterfeits and other illegal products. Sadly this is a problem for many markets across the country. When the illicit traders move in, a whole host of problems follow:

  • consumers are ripped off and sold potentially dangerous goods;
  • legitimate traders lose sales and go out of business, damaging the local economy;
  • an atmosphere of criminality and intimidation can become embedded;
  • and there is often a knock-on effect in terms of increased crime in the surrounding area.

Across the country, local authority trading standards services and many market operators are working hard to maintain local markets and car boot sales as safe and fair environments in which to trade and to shop. But the nature of the counterfeit business means that traders in illicit goods will often move from one market to another to avoid detection. Tackle the problem in one region and it shifts elsewhere.

It’s an issue that calls for a national solution

The Real Deal campaign is a cross-sector, partnership initiative, bringing together local authority trading standards services, market operators and traders, industry groups, and copyright and trademark owners, all of whom are united with a common commitment to tackling this problem.

Introducing a national charter for safe, fair markets…

At the heart of the Real Deal campaign is a national markets’ charter, which has been created in consultation with all the partners in this initiative and which sets out key principles for market operators, local authority trading standards services, industry and trademark representatives to sign up to and abide by.

Signing up to the charter demonstrates an organisation’s commitment to safe and fair trading at their local market.

The Real Deal logo may be displayed at venues where the market operator abides by the terms of the national charter and in agreement with their local trading standards service.

…with local arrangements to reflect local circumstances

Local arrangements will underpin the practical, operational aspects of the national charter. In some parts of the country, local authorities have introduced detailed codes of practice, which reflect local circumstances and, upon which, successful working relationships have been developed between the local authority trading standards service and market operators. Other local authorities are encouraged to consider the adoption of similar codes of practice adapted, as necessary, to reflect local circumstances and resources.

Information and communication

Real Deal resources are available, free of charge, to participating market operators and local authority trading standards services, including:

  • the National Markets Charter,
  • template code of practice, which may act as a useful starting point for local authorities in developing a local markets protocol;
  • A Practical Guide booklet for enforcement officers containing legal summaries, case studies and best practice;
  • information leaflets for market traders, summarising relevant legislation and penalties for infringement;
  • consumer information posters for display at participating markets.

What next…

Local authorities and market operators are urged to sign up to the Real Deal charter as a demonstration of their commitment to providing safe and fair markets. To find out how you can join the Real Deal, email or call 01943 609247