Len Dastard vs The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 – Part 1
Hola damas y caballeros! It is I, Len Dastard, real life litigation executive and imaginary retired Mexican lucha libre. My life as a retired wrestler was fraught with sorrow until I found the law. The Federales tried to keep me down but I will always fight for you, my familia. So read on or I will smash you like I smashed El Burro Piñata in '79.
These Regulations have been in force since May 2008 but they don’t seem to be as well known as most other important consumer laws. Not only do these regulations protect consumers but they also protect honest businesses.
The regulations attempt to ban some practices which can reasonably be considered unfair. One of the key areas of these regulations relate to pricing and product information. This is what we'll concentrate on today.
This is something which we have covered before at Bitterwallet. If you haven’t seen these pieces then have a look here. It happens when a retailer invites you to purchase a product which they have little or no intention of honouring. They then hope that you will either accept an alternative (usually inferior) product or shop for another item. Dell (US) landed themselves in trouble with this unscrupulous activity in 2005.
Limited Time Only
There is no better example to use than – “DFS – Sale must end Sunday”. DFS have found themselves in hot water in the past for not making it clear enough on their adverts when exactly their sale was going to finish. Some of the more observant readers may have noticed their adverts have changed fairly recently to include exactly which Sunday will see the end of the sale. Usually the end of a sale for DFS on a Sunday means the beginning of another on the Monday. Devious bastardos.
We covered a story a little while ago which might well be one of the worst marketing drives I think I have ever seen. This is a great example of exactly why these regulations were introduced. Making people fear for the safety (personal or financial) is not a great idea.
Advertising an item/service that you will not provide
This could be grouped in with “bait and switch” but it is dealt with under its own section in the regulations - possibly because to prove it is unfair trading the retailer must:
• Refuse to show the advertised product.
• Have demonstrated a defective sample and then switching (bait and switch); or
• Refuse to take orders for it or deliver within a reasonable time.
Selling illegal goods
It should already go without saying that retailers should not be selling illegal goods and representing to consumers that it would be legal for them to sell on.
Over promise, under deliver
This is to promise a consumer something which then turns out to be an entirely false claim. Quite rightly it is not unreasonable to under promise and over deliver.
Using the law as an inducement
Retailers should not be trying to use the law as an incentive for a consumer to buy their product. For example, a retailer could not say that they will happily take a product back if it turns out to be faulty as you are given this statutory right under S14(2) Sale of Goods Act 1979.
That is all for now. Part 2 will focus on what the regulations are doing in respect of salespeople and after-sale services provided by the retailer.
Keep an eye on for any of the above and if you have been on the receiving end of these scheming acts (since 2008) get in contact with us at [email protected] Adios!