Office of Fair Trading

OFT Launches Crackdown on Misleading Prices

Businesses have been warned to check their pricing is “transparent” or risk enforcement action, following the launch of a crackdown on misleading price practices by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT). The OFT has identified the pricing practices most likely to cause harm, both online and offline. These include drip pricing (where delivery charges or taxes are added to purchases at the checkout), time-limited offers and baiting sales (when the business only has a small supply of stock available at the advertised offer price). Under the Consumer Protection for Unfair Trading Regulations (2008) businesses are prohibited from displaying misleading advertising. Those that fail to comply could face fines or legal action. Association of Convenience Stores spokesman, Shane Brennan, said that most sm... »

Sale of Goods Act (SOGA) hub Helps Retailers

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has launched a website to help retailers comply with the law, after finding that many businesses were unaware of their obligations to consumers. The Sale of Goods Act hub (SOGA) has been launched in conjunction with the British Retail Consortium and the Trading Standards Institute, and provides retailers with detailed guidance to help keep them in line with consumer protection law. The site contains an interactive online guide clarifying retailers’ obligations in different sales scenarios, as well as downloadable staff-training sessions on sales legislation. “There is evidence that many retail staff do not fully understand customers’ statutory rights when it comes to exchange and refunds.” said OFT Consumer Group legal director, Jason Freeman. “Our research... »

Competition And Consumer Protection

OFT guide helps firms comply with Consumer Laws

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has published a free guide for businesses on how to comply with competition and consumer laws. Aimed specifically at smaller businesses, ‘A quick guide to competition and consumer protection laws’ has been published following recent legislation changes that affect how businesses operate in the UK. These include Consumer Protection Regulations which introduced new rules on advertising to other businesses. The guide also offers advice on a range of other potential pitfalls for businesses, including what constitutes illegal cartel activity, how to comply with distance selling rules and creating fair business contracts. OFT senior director of policy Ali Nikpay said: “An important part of our role is to provide guidance to help companies self&n... »

Retailers Urged to Comply with New Consumer Protection Laws

The British Shops and Stores Association (BSSA) has urged small retailers to familiarise themselves with new regulations aimed at protecting consumers from unfair sales practices. The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations Act came into force on 26 May, banning 31 aggressive and misleading sales practices. BSSA chief executive John Dean has warned that small businesses are not aware of the new laws. “It is a potential minefield for smaller businesses particularly,” said Dean. “There is so much complexity involved in the new legislation and businesses will potentially fall foul of it through a lack of understanding, rather than any desire to flout the regulations. “They have got to read and understand what they have got to do,” he added. “The... »