What is fair trading?
Fair trading covers a wide area of consumer protection law. The primary purpose of this type of legislation is to ensure 'truthfulness of trade', preventing consumers being misled during contractual negotiations for goods and services.
Consumer protection regulations
The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 came into force on 26 May 2008. They replace large pieces of existing consumer protection legislation that were in force prior to this date. The regulations introduce a general duty not to trade unfairly and seek to ensure that traders act honestly and fairly towards their customers.
The vast majority of UK businesses are fair and should not need to change their business practices to comply with the regulations, which aim to tackle those businesses who do not always treat their customers well.
To view a guidance booklet on The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations, see the document entitled 'CPR Guidance'. This has been jointly produced by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).
Business protection regulations
The Business Protection from Misleading Marketing Regulations 2008 (BPR's):
prohibit businesses from advertising products in a way that misleads traders
set out conditions under which comparative advertising, to consumers and business, is permitted.
If your business advertises goods or services to other businesses, or if in your advertisements to businesses or consumers you make comparisons that identify a competitor, or products offered by a competitor, the regulations are likely to apply to your business.
More information on BPR's is available on the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) website, to ensure your business complies with the law.
More information for businesses is available on the OFT website. The OFT's mission is to make markets work well for consumers, by promoting and protecting consumer interests throughout the UK, while ensuring that businesses are fair and competitive.
You can find essential information for businesses on how to comply with legislation enforced by the Office of Fair Trading and Trading Standards, check advice on consumer issues, follow the progress of investigations and action taken, or simply download the leaflets and reports.
Alternatively, you can contact Trading Standards using the details at the top of this page.
Car boots & markets - 'Real Deal'
A national charter was launched in 2008 at the Trading Standards Institute (TSi) Conference in Brighton, to help all local authority Trading Standards Services, market operators and copyright & trademark owners in their ongoing battle against dealers in counterfeit and other illicit goods at UK markets and car boot sales.
Markets and car boot sales can provide easy opportunities for traders seeking to trade illegally, particularly in counterfeit and pirated goods. For criminal groups, selling counterfeit goods is a relatively risk-free way to make money and to launder cash from other criminal activity.
When illicit traders move into a market, a whole host of problems follow: consumers are ripped off and sold potentially unsafe products; legitimate businesses are faced with unfair competition and lose sales to the counterfeit traders; an atmosphere of intimidation and criminality can become embedded with criminal gangs controlling stalls; and there is often a knock-on effect in increased crime in the immediate neighbourhood.
The national charter was launched under the banner Real Deal: Working Together For Fake-Free Markets. It is supported by all the key public and private sectors organisations with responsibility for ensuring markets are safe, fake-free environments in which to shop and to trade.
By signing up to the charter, a market operator commits to work closely with Trading Standards to prevent the sale of counterfeit and other illegal goods, and to be aware of whom is trading at the market. Trading Standards will, in return, commit to support the market operator and provide information to them in relation to the sale of infringing products.
Markets will also be monitored and intelligence shared with other law enforcement agencies as well as industry and rights’ owners. Industry and trademark owners will also monitor the markets and provide regular and up to date information to Trading Standards and market operators on how to identify illegal products.