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Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 9 Jun 2018 |
 
Consumer Regulations Unfair Practices

Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations (26th May 2008) has brought to an end a number of questionable trading practices. If you come across any of these practices and have parted with money as a result, the trader will be in breach of these regulations. Traders are now not allowed to mislead customers by giving false messages, or leave out important information to induce a sale. The regulations broadly reflect the new provisions in the Fraud Act 2006, a controversial piece of legislation that, many lawyers have argued, criminalises ‘lying.’

Lying about Products

A trader cannot state that an offer is open for a ‘limited time only’ in order to rush consumers into making a hasty decision about a purchase. Similarly, advertising a ‘closing down sale’ when the shop is not closing down is also a breach of these rules.

A consumer’s statutory rights (fitness for purpose, reasonable quality and goods to conform to description) cannot form part of the seller’s offer, as this may provide a false benefit to consumers that they would otherwise have been entitled to by law in any event. This also extends to creating extra paperwork to put a consumer off from exercising their statutory rights.

Products cannot be sold on the basis that they are able to cure illnesses, disfunctions or disorders when in fact there is no such proof or substantial evidence to show that these claims are true. Scaremongering is also not allowed: a trader cannot tell a consumer that they, or a member of their family, are at a greater risk if they do not buy a certain product than is in reality the case.

Advertising

The new regulations extend to the way in which traders advertise their businesses. A trader cannot hold themselves out as being private individuals, or that what they are doing is a hobby, or that they too are simply a consumer. An advertisement cannot directly appeal to children to buy products or to tell them to persuade their parents to do the same.

Lying about Credibility

It is now a breach of these regulations if a trader falsely claims adherence to a code of conduct, displays a trust mark that has not been awarded to them or falsely claims that a product or service has been endorsed by a public or private body when it has not.

Pyramid Schemes

It is now unlawful for a business to entice a consumer to part with money in consideration for the opportunity to be paid for introducing other consumers into the scheme, rather than primarily in consideration for making sales.

Competitions

Any prize draw must in fact have a prize, and the prize must be as advertised or equivalent to the prize that was advertised. A product, whether a service or system, cannot claim that it will facilitate a win in a game of chance. If there is a claim that the consumer has already ‘won’ something, there must be an actual prize, and claiming the prize must not incur an extra cost or payment of money.

Sales

Consumers cannot be pressurised into making purchases, for example by being made to feel that they cannot leave without signing a contract. A salesman who comes to someone’s home and then won’t leave, or won’t stop making a sales pitch when the homeowner tells them that they aren’t interested, is breaking these regulations.

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StressRanger - Your Question:
I am in electrical and plumbing trade (second job). I have a client suing me for not finishing the job. She wants all her money back on the labour including the materials she bought and claiming delays (which not noted on the quotes about time frames to finished). She supplied the materials. My work is 95% done and all are fit for purpose and done on satisfactory standard. On her claim she did not provide proof of evidence regarding her claim and the remaining jobs left about 5%. The remaining balance is about £1550 and total project cost about £4k plus. She only paid 66.15% and the job almost complete. I gave her all the accomplishment report and also acknowledge the payment on my report and the remaining balance and I gave her also the invoice from the materials although there are few discrepancy which I told her she can deduct from my balance. I ask for partial payment but did not pay so I suspend working. Now she is twisting all story and claim delays and compensation. I have emailed her quotes during the start of the project that she also haggle the price which we both agreed and also on those quotes has terms and conditions regarding additional jobs. She did not sign any quotes but agreed via text message when we are in good terms, she paid all the finished jobs and happy until I quit since I have done free labour already on her kitchen and toilet (all done and working and tested) and when I left the remaining jobs are fit out (plumbing) and can be done in a day and estimated cost around £150. Does she have a case against me? I have all evidence that I have done on a satisfactory standard (commissioning and testing)and installed all the materials in question. Any advice is much appreciated.

Our Response:
We really can't say without all the details of your work and transactions etc. It might be worth seeking legal advice.
OnlineShoppingRights - 12-Jun-18 @ 1:01 PM
I am in electrical and plumbing trade (second job). I have a client suing me for not finishing the job. She wants all her money back on the labour including the materials she bought and claiming delays (which not noted on the quotes about time frames to finished). She supplied the materials.My work is 95% done and all are fit for purpose and done on satisfactory standard. On her claim she did not provide proof of evidence regarding her claim and the remaining jobs left about 5%. The remaining balance is about £1550 and total project cost about £4k plus. She only paid 66.15% and the job almost complete. I gave her all the accomplishment report and also acknowledge the payment on my report and the remaining balance and I gave her also the invoice from the materials although there are few discrepancy which I told her she can deduct from my balance.I ask for partial payment but did not pay so I suspend working. Now she is twisting all story and claim delays and compensation. I have emailed her quotes during the start of the project that she also haggle the price which we both agreed and also on those quotes has terms and conditions regarding additional jobs.She did not sign any quotes but agreed via text message when we are in good terms, she paid all the finished jobs and happy until I quit since I have done free labour already on her kitchen and toilet (all done and working and tested) and when I left the remaining jobs are fit out (plumbing) and can be done in a day and estimated cost around £150.Does she have a case against me?I have all evidence that I have done on a satisfactory standard (commissioning and testing)and installed all the materials in question. Any advice is much appreciated.
StressRanger - 9-Jun-18 @ 11:58 AM
I clicked on an ad for a free bottle of a product called Diazabole, which was offered free month supply if I paid 1.99 for shipping, before my order could be processed, I was made to agree to their terms of service. This product is advertised as lowering blood sugar. It has been 3 weeks or more since I ordered the free bottle and have not received it yet. I went to their web site thinking I could contact customer service and actually read what I was coerced into signing. The company gives you 14 day after you purchase your free bottle to cancel further automatic shipments costing about 90.00 a bottle. This is done before you ever receive the free bottle to see if it even works for you. They also added a waiver that the consumer can not file a class action suit against the sellers, This has been the biggest rip off I have ever come a crossed! I have emailed the co. but no response yet to my canceling further shipments. What do I do. Also, the cost was advertised as pay 1.99 for shipping and they actually charged me 4.95.
frosted - 14-Oct-16 @ 5:21 PM
Jools - Your Question:
Recently bought a divan bed on line. Visited several shops first and found the brand I wanted. Looked online and same brand advertised and pictured, then purchased. Upon delivery bed is not as in picture and is another brand with simply an adhesive sticker with the "name" on ! Still awaiting companies response 24 hours later. Where do I stand.

Our Response:
Under the Consumer Contract regulations you have an automatic right to cancel the order from the day you receive your item. So do this if you're not happy. This 14 day period is the time you have to decide whether to cancel (and inform the seller), you then have a further 14 days to actually send the goods back. You should receive a refund within 14 days of either the trader getting the goods back, or you providing evidence of having returned the good. You might also want to contact Trading Standards if you believe the item to be a forgery and the Advertising Standards Agency if you believe the company is giving misleading information when advertising their goods.
OnlineShoppingRights - 16-Dec-15 @ 12:52 PM
Recently bought a divan bed on line. Visited several shops first and found the brand I wanted. Looked online and same brand advertised and pictured, then purchased. Upon delivery bed is not as in picture and is another brand with simply an adhesive sticker with the "name" on ! Still awaiting companies response 24 hours later. Where do I stand .
Jools - 15-Dec-15 @ 10:00 PM
Strewthm8 - Your Question:
I recently purchased a cycling jacket from a well known chain. After the purchase, got the confirmation email. I informed others of the deal, they also purchased said jacket. After a period a few guys commented it was no longer on their website. I looked, but found same jacket at new higher price. Next day I've had email saying they've refunded my money cause been inundated and computer system had errors. I just want the jacket.

Our Response:
You need to check the terms and conditions on the company's website. Some companies state that they only "accept" the order once they have delivered the goods - here is an example from a well known cycle/running retailer (X): " When you place an order, you will receive an acknowledgement e-mail confirming receipt of your order. This email will only be an acknowledgement and will not constitute acceptance of your order. X retains the right to accept or reject this offer before processing the order. A contract between us for the purchase of the goods will not be formed until your payment has been approved by us, the prices have been verified, and the order has been processed and dispatched. A second email will be sent confirming these arrangements."
OnlineShoppingRights - 6-Oct-15 @ 12:41 PM
I recently purchased a cycling jacket from a well known chain. After the purchase, got the confirmation email. I informed others of the deal, they also purchased said jacket. After a period a few guys commented it was no longer on their website. I looked, but found same jacket at new higher price. Next day I've had email saying they've refunded my money cause been inundated and computer system had errors. I just want the jacket.
Strewthm8 - 5-Oct-15 @ 3:27 PM
I bought some collapsablecups,they had various quantities advertised, I bought a 12 pack but only received 1. I emailed them, the reply came back that it was a mistake to show them for sale as a 12 pack and they are only available to buy singular but I can buy multiple quantities.Is there anything I can doto get the 12 as advertised
sam - 24-Jun-15 @ 7:47 PM
@Cross. Yes this has happened to us at several online stores - itseems to be more prevalent this season than ever before. It is very misleading. What we've found is that the banner headline will state "25% off everything" then small print underneath (often in a different/less visible font and colour) will say something along the lines of "when you spend £50 or more" or "items not already discounted". We think it's misleading and will be asking the advertising standard authority about it in the New Year.
OnlineShoppingRights - 18-Dec-14 @ 12:09 PM
Hi there, I'm just soooo peeved today about an Ann Summers sale.I got an email first saying everything was 20% off today and when i went to the site which has a countdown on the number of hours left to buy, it says only 20% off full price items. So I filled my basket with a sale item half price at £4 and a bra (non sale item)which is full-price £20.But after several attempts at online checkout and after a telephone call where a sales assistant totally admitted that bothe the email and website were totally misleading and confusing and actually just not TRUE, she tried sympathetically to apply 2 other discount codes to my order but I left disappointed because I could get no discount applied to my order successfully at all.I WOULD LOVE THEM TO BE DISGRACED!
Cross - 17-Dec-14 @ 3:20 PM
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