Mystery shoppers probe digital switchover advice

South Gloucestershire Council

South Gloucestershire Trading Standards have conducted a mystery shopper exercise to assess the advice being given to consumers in the run up to Christmas about the digital switchover.

The exercise took place in October with Trading Standards officers ringing 19 aerial installers and visiting eight local retail premises to ask a series of questions about the forthcoming digital switchover, scheduled to take place in the West on 24 March 2010.

The responses provided were analysed by Bill Taylor, South West regional manager for Digital UK, the not-for-profit agency set up to oversee the switchover nationally.

The mystery shopper exercise highlighted some areas of concern, particularly with information provided by aerial installers. Out of the 19 installers contacted, five gave poor or inaccurate advice. However, many were helpful and provided accurate and reliable advice, including a member of the Trading Standards-operated Buy With Confidence scheme.

All of the retailers contacted were confident in answering switchover enquiries and the quality of digital switchover advice given was, in most cases, of a high standard with very few inaccuracies.

Cllr Heather Goddard, executive member for communities, said: “South Gloucestershire residents rely on the information provided by local companies. It is therefore essential that traders provide honest, accurate and correct advice regarding the products and services they sell to enable consumers to access digital television. The mystery shopper exercise demonstrates that the council is determined to ensure that residents get the best advice available.”

Bill Taylor, South West regional manager of Digital UK, said: “It is vitally important that retailers and aerial installers give the best possible advice about equipment needed for digital TV switchover – especially in the run-up to Christmas. This survey shows that some shop staff and some installers need to improve the advice they give. I want to make sure that no- one is duped into spending money unnecessarily on digital TV switchover.”

A list of traders who are members of the Buy With Confidence schemecan be found on the website: or by contacting South Gloucestershire Trading Standards on 01454 634 001.

For impartial advice on the digital switchover visit the Digital UK Website:

Source: South Gloucestershire Council