At the Corsham Chamber of Commerce yesterday we listened to a fascinating speaker – Sue Wilkin from the local Trading Standards office. She deals with relationships between businesses and their consumers.
I thought I knew a fair bit about this, but some new regulations were brought in last year. I learned that:
- It is now an offence for businesses to engage regularly in unfair commercial practices, such as refusing to replace faulty goods. Trading standards officers can now make use of the civil courts to deal with such businesses.
- Traders who give quotes in the consumer's home for work to be done, such as replacing damaged roofing, have to offer a seven day cooling off period during which the consumer can change their mind.
- Goods sold have to be sufficiently durable, so retailers do have an obligation to compensate consumers whose microwave ovens fail just after the guarantee period has ended! They cannot say, “You did not buy an extended warranty: go away!” (This is not new, this is from the Sale of Goods Act.)
E&OE. While I believe this information to be correct in English law, I take no responsibility for its accuracy or any consequencies if you rely upon it. Check it with authoritative sources such as aTrading Standards Office, Consumer Direct, or a lawyer.