Following the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs) and the Business Protection from Misleading Marketing Regulations 2008 (BPRs) guidance produced last year for property sales businesses, the OFT has developed two short consumer advice sheets: one for homebuyers and a separate one for home sellers.
The advice sheets provide:
We are encouraging estate agents to make the advice sheets available wherever possible to home sellers and homebuyers.
Following changes to the consumer protection regime introduced by Government in April 2013, local authority Trading Standards Services have a greater role in the enforcement of consumer protection law at national level. The OFT retains (and from April 2014 the new Competition Markets Authority will inherit) all of its previous consumer enforcement powers but will now tend to use those powers where breaches of consumer protection law point to systemic failures in a market. This means cases will more often be taken against a number of firms in a market, rather than cases against individual firms, unless changing the behaviour of one firm would set a precedent or have other market-wide implications.
The OFT retains its lead role for the enforcement of the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999 although the Trading Standards Services has equal enforcement powers.
In the first instance consumers are encouraged to contact Citizens Advice regarding any problems they may have in buying goods or services.
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