The Trade Description Act was introduced to provide protection to consumers when purchasing goods or services. This legislation is relevant for all traders within the UK and there are numerous different parts to the legislation that stipulate what traders can and cannot do when selling products. Consumers have the right to report traders that are found to be breaking the Act. In minor cases consumers are advised to communicate directly with the trader in order to establish some form of agreement. If an agreement cannot be reached or a consumer believes there has been a wide scale breach then the matter should be referred further.
Consumers who wish to report a company for breaching the Trade Description Act are well within their rights to do so. The company details that have breached the Act should be provided to the Trading Standards Office. There is a Trading Standards Office located within each town or borough. The office is most commonly part oft the local authority that is responsible for that given area. In many cases the Trading Standards Office will make up part of another department within the local authority, for example Regulatory Services. Such departments focus on all parts of trading and they ensure rules are adhered to.
Other relevant legislations that are managed by the Trading Standards Office include Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, Consumer Credit Act 1974, Property Misdescriptions Act 1991, Trade Marks Act 1994, Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, Hallmarking Act 1973, Enterprise Act 2002 and Mock Auctions Act 1961.
The public can contact most Trading Standards Offices during normal business hours. In the majority of cases they are contactable by phone, post or email. In order to gain the details of your local Trading Standards Office visit your local councils website. Failing this contact you local council by phone and ask to speak to the Trading Standards Office.
Consumers should not that small unintentional mistakes in descriptions or pricing will not be regarded as a breach of the Act. In order for a successful prosecution to occur there must be relevant and sufficient evidence provided.
It is the responsibility of all retailers to be fully aware of the regulations stated within the Trade Description Act. Retailers who are unsure and wish to seek advice can do so through their local Trading Standards Office. Employees at the office will be able to provide a large amount of information relating to the numerous different aspects of the Act.
The office has an obligation to carry out an investigation into all complaints that are made by the public. The Government department responsible for the Act is the Department of Trade and Industry.