In recent years, the consumer protection and trading standards environment has become increasingly complex. A large number of laws, regulations and statutory codes of practice have either been replaced, updated or revoked. This means that many businesses are either unaware of their legal responsibilities or they are working to a set of rules which no longer apply.
For example, the much quoted Trade Descriptions Act 1968 was revoked in 2010 and replaced by a set of regulations which not only regulate how products are described to customers but which also ban a wide range of business practices.
There have major changes to the practices involved within the provision of consumer credit in the last decade and two different sets of consumer credit advertisement regulations have been enacted.
In the field of product safety, many item specific sets of regulations have been revoked and replaced by the provisions of the General Product Safety Regulations. Where the old regulations clearly stated the expected tests products must be put though in order to comply with the law, the GPSR requires businesses to risk assess products and their potential impact on consumers.
There are ongoing discussions and changes regarding how food is labelled. New regulations are due in October relating to the labelling of allergens. There are discussions currently being held at a European level on extending the requirements for beef labelling and traceability to other meats (no doubt in response to the Horsemeat Scandal).
In recent years, the once fixed legislative environment of consumer protection and trading law has become one of constant change. It is therefore understandable that many businesses; focused on survival during a period of economic uncertainty; need guidance on compliance and standards.
Philmus Consulting can provide this guidance to businesses and help ensure a viable and compliant trading position.