Trading Standards to have more clout to protect consumers
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28 March 2012 - BIS
The Department for Business,
Innovation and Skills today launched a consultation on proposals to
make it easier for Trading Standards officers to tackle rogue traders
across local authority boundaries.
The consultation also seeks
to modernise consumer law by consolidating and simplifying officers’
investigatory powers set out in around 60 scattered pieces of consumer
law into a single set. This will ensure these powers are transparent
for both business and regulators.
The proposals are also aimed
at reducing burdens on business, by requiring that officers’ routine
visits are pre-arranged unless there are compelling reasons for them to
The consultation follows the
Government’s agenda to simplify consumer law in response to the Red
Consumer Minister Norman
“The UK has one of the best
consumer protection regimes in the world but because the current law
has developed piecemeal over many decades, it is fragmented and overly
complex, making it hard for consumers and business to understand.
“Trading Standards officers’
enforcement powers are a prime example of this and we need a major
simplification of the law to make it easier for them to tackle rogue
traders and protect consumers nationally as well as at a local level.”
Ron Gainsford, Chief
Executive of the Trading Standards Institute said:
“At this time of great
economic pressure on local authorities, it is vital that Trading
Standards are able to tackle rogue traders as simply, quickly and cost
effectively as possible.
“We welcome a consultation
that seeks to consolidate and simplify the investigatory powers used by
Trading Standards and believe it is vital that all stakeholders
contribute examples of best practice and evidence any concerns.”
BIS also welcomed the
publication today of a joint report by the Law Commission and the
Scottish Law Commission on strengthening consumer protection against
misleading and aggressive practices.
The Report follows the joint Commissions’
consultation on proposals in April 2011 for stronger consumer
protection and recommends new legislation to clarify consumer redress
for misleading practices.
It would also give consumers subjected to
aggressive practices a right of redress, including a right to cancel
the contract for a fixed period of 90 days.
of aggressive practices include sales people preying on vulnerable or
elderly people, implying a connection with a charity, or refusing to
leave the premises until they have secured a sale. BIS will respond
formally to the Commission’s report later in the year.
BIS will consult further on
proposals to simplify other consumer rights later this year with the
aim of bringing forward a new Consumer Bill of Rights to
comprehensively update consumer law in order to scrap or reform some 12
pieces of existing legislation.
1. You can see the consultation on the consolidation and
modernisation of consumer law enforcement powers at http://www.bis.gov.uk/policies/consumer-issues/consumer-rights/consumer-law-enforcement-powers
2. The Red Tape Challenge was launched by the Prime Minister
on 7 April 2011. It gives business and the public the chance to have
their say on some of the more than 10,000 regulations that affect their
everyday lives. The website is available at www.redtapechallenge.cabinetoffice.gov.uk
3. In 2008, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) found that around
one-third of consumers reported at least one problem in the last 12
months with goods or services purchased, leading to a total value of
consumer detriment of £6.6 billion across the economy. Data indicates
that the cost of consumer detriment at regional and national level
where offences occur across local authority boundaries is in excess of
About the Author
© Crown Copyright. Material taken from the BIS Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Reproduced under the terms and conditions of the Click-Use Licence.
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2012-04-02 17:01:28 in Business Articles