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The council aims to protect the interests of consumers and traders by ensuring that businesses in the borough comply with trading standards legislation.
For information on legislation relevant to your business, see business guidance leaflets.
The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs) originated from European laws, whose aim is to standardise consumer protections laws.
The CPRs cover commercial practices between traders and consumers - 'acts, omissions, course of conduct, representation or commercial communication (including advertising and marketing) by a trader, which is directly connected with the promotion, sale or supply of a product to or from consumers, whether occurring before, during or after a commercial transaction (if any) in relation to a product'. A 'product' is any goods or service and includes rights and obligations.
Businesses are still required to give details of their business name and principal place of business on all correspondence, invoices etc. There are additional requirements for the provision of information under the Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) Regulations 2002 and the Consumer Protection (Distant Selling) Regulations 2002
This legislation restricts a trader's ability to use contract terms to limit their legal and contractual responsibilities. In consumer contracts, traders cannot limit or exclude their responsibilities for breaches of implied terms when it comes to description, quality and fitness for purpose of goods. Business to consumer contracts are covered by the Consumer Rights Act. Also, any attempt to mislead the consumer about their rights is an offence under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.
Under the Unsolicited Goods and Services Act 1971 (as amended), it is an offence to demand payment for goods known to be unsolicited - meaning goods sent to a person without any prior request made by them or on their behalf. Someone who receives goods in these circumstances may retain them as an unconditional gift, and does not have to pay for or return unwanted goods.
All business should be vigilant to the possibility of invoices for both goods and services they have not ordered. Many such demands come from abroad.
The Consumer Rights Act came into force on 1 October 2015, which meant from that date new consumer rights became law covering:
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