|Article - Consumer Law|
Unfair Commercial Practices
The Department of Trade & Industry has recently issued a consultation paper on the draft Regulations which implement the European Union Unfair Commercial Practices Directive. The Unfair Commercial Practices Directive (“UCPD”) aims to:
The UCPD will become English law by virtue of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2007 (“CPRs”) and it is expected that the CPRs will come into force in April 2008.
What the CPRs Try to Achieve
The CPRs will:
The CPRs scope is wide: it applies to all business sections. The CPRs bring a distinct movement from the current haphazard approach of piecemeal legislation to cover all unfair commercial practices.
One System of Regulation
When the CPRs come into force in April 2008, it will replace legislation such as the Trade Descriptions Act 1968, Part III of the Consumer Protection Act 1987 and the Price Indications (Method of Payment) Regulations 1991. Instead, there will be an all embracing ban on unfair commercial practices between businesses and consumers.
Whilst it has been argued that an all embracing approach rarely achieves its aims, it is likely to simplify the task of enforcement agencies like local trading standards departments.
Application of the CPRs
The key test will be whether the nature and content of the business practice is unfair on the typical consumer. It is likely to have a significant impact on businesses but will ensure that a uniform approach and regulation is provided to all businesses.
All business will therefore need to
Some examples of the thirty-one banned commercial practices are:
Like many other consumer protection laws, local trading standards officers will ensure businesses comply with the regulations.
There is, at the moment, no particular guidance on what will amount to an unfair business practice. Businesses should be aware that until cases have been brought before the courts, the CPRs are open to interpretation and are likely (if there is any doubt) to be taken in favour of the consumer.
Article First Published: 16 August 2007
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