Information for businesses on the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations.
The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 came into force on 26 May 2008. They implement the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive (UCPD) in the UK, and replace several pieces of consumer protection legislation that were in force prior to 26 May 2008. The Regulations introduce a general duty not to trade unfairly and seek to ensure that traders act honestly and fairly towards their customers. They apply primarily to business to consumer practices (but elements of business to business practices are also covered where they affect, or are likely to affect, consumers).
The vast majority of UK businesses are fair dealing and should not have needed to change their business practices to comply with the Regulations, which aim to tackle those businesses who don't always treat their customers well.
For more information see the OFT/Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) joint illustrative guidance on the Regulations:
Download Guidance on the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations (pdf 380 kb).
See also BIS' A basic guide for business (pdf 576 kb).
From 2 April 2013, under changes to the consumer protection regime introduced by Government, there will be a greater role for the local authority Trading Standards Services in the enforcement of consumer protection law at national level. The OFT will retain all of its current consumer enforcement powers but will tend to use them 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 will also retain the lead role for the enforcement of the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999 although the Trading Standards Services will have 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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