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Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008

The biggest overhaul of consumer law for 40 years took effect on 26 May 2008.

The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations (CPRs) implement the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive (UCPD) in the UK and introduce a general duty on businesses not to trade unfairly.

The Directive helps to clarify consumers’ rights and facilitate cross border trade by establishing common EU-wide rules against aggressive or misleading marketing. Consumers are given the same protection against illegal business practices and rogue traders whether they buy from the shop around the corner or from a website in another member State.

The Directive’s broad scope means that it tackles many issues already covered by existing laws. To avoid duplication, modernise and simplify UK consumer protection, the CPRs totally or partially replace some of these laws. For example, offences relating to ‘hidden traders’, ie traders posing as private sellers, and to the display of notices which attempt to restrict shoppers’ rights, eg ‘No Refunds on Sale Goods’, which were once covered by separate Orders are now covered by the CPRs.

The regulations also specify a list of 31 banned activities, which include:

  • Making false claims about endorsement or authorisation by another body eg falsely claiming to be Corgi registered
  • Visiting a consumer’s home and refusing to leave until they have a signed contract
  • Telling a consumer that if he does not buy, the trader’s job or livelihood will be in jeopardy.

If a trader misleads, behaves aggresively or otherwise acts unfairly towards consumers, then the trader is likely to be in breach of the CPRs and may face action by enforcement authorities.