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Fair trading

How to avoid misleading customers, consumer rights. Information on selling on the internet, car boot sales, consumers homes. Avoiding property misdescription, selling package holidays and trading advice. 

How do I avoid misleading customers?

When you sell goods or services to consumers you have a legal duty to trade fairly. That is you must not engage in unfair commercial practices. You can find practical information about how to avoid misleading customers on the business companion website: 

Business companion - Consumer protection from unfair trading (external website)

When you advertise the sale of goods or services to other businesses you have a legal duty to ensure that your advertising is not misleading. You can find practical information about how to avoid misleading customers on the business companion website:

Business companion - Business to business marketing (external website)  

In addition, the below links to the business companion website provides you with more specific information for businesses:

Business companion - Accurately describing products (external website)

Business companion - Antiques and antiquities (external website)

Business companion - Membership logos and claims of approval (external website)

Business companion - Sale and resale of tickets (external website)

Business companion - Mileage of used vehicles (external website)

Business companion - Labelling of footwear (external website)

Business companion - Labelling of textiles (external website)

Business companion - Prices in hotels and guesthouses (external website)

Business companion - Price marking for goods for retail sale (external website)

What consumer rights do my customers have?

It is important that businesses understand what rights consumers have when the goods they bought from you or the service you provided goes wrong. You can find practical information on the business companion website:

Business companion - Sale and supply of goods (external website)

Business companion - Returns policies (external website) 

The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) has set the Business Companion Website to provide impartial free information to business.

Business Companion (external website - opens in new window)

What should I know if I am selling goods, services or digital content from my business premises?

From 13 June 2014 the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 requires business selling goods, services or digital content from their business premises to give consumers certain information.

The following page on the business companion website gives you some practical information to help your business comply:

Business companion - On premises sales (external website) 

What should I know if I am selling at a distance (via the internet, phone, etc)?

The internet and other means of dealing with consumers at a distance (for example over the phone or by post) has become an important way for businesses to sell their goods, services and digital content. 

For contracts entered into from 13 June 2014 onward the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 applies. These change some of the legal requirements of your business when selling to consumers, including when you sell through internet auction sites. The following page on the business companion website gives you some practical information to help your business:

Business companion - Distance sales (external website)   

Specific guidance has been drawn up for traders who sell goods using internet auction sites. This can be found on the business companion website:

Business companion - Internet auction sites and marketplaces (external website) 

What should I know if I sell my goods, services or digital content away from my business premises?

For contracts entered into from 13 June 2014 onward the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 applies. These change some of the legal requirements your business has when selling to consumers in their homes and other places which are not your business premises. Further details about practical guidance to the regulations can be found on the business companion website:

Business companion - Off premises sales (external website)

What should I know if I sell at car boot sales?

Selling at car boot sales has been a popular part of local life. If you are a trader there are steps you must take to stay legal. Further details about practical advice covering car boot sales can be found on the business companion website:

Business companion - Car boot sales (external website)

What should I know if I let out my premises for a one day sale?

Traders approaching you to hire out a room or other venue to conduct a one day sale or an occasional sale can be a problem for you if the trader concerned causes problems to consumers. Further details about practical guidance on how to protect yourself can be found on the business companion website:

Business companion - One day and occasional sales (external website)

As an estate agent, how do I avoid property misdescription?

Further details about estate agents practical information to avoid misdescribing property you advertise can be found on the business companion website:

Business companion - Estate agents – property descriptions (external website)

What laws apply to the selling of package holidays?

Consumers have some specific rights protecting them when they buyer a package holiday. Further details about the legal requirements for package holidays can be found on the business companion website:

Business companion - Package tours and holidays (external website)

Do I have to give customers details on business ownership?

Further details about your legal obligations as a business concerning showing who owns the business can be found on the business companion website:

Business companion - Company and business names (external website)

Are there any extra requirements for me if I deal in second-hand goods?

Most dealers in second-hand goods operating in the East Riding of Yorkshire must be registered under the Humberside Act 1982.

We offer advice about second-hand goods dealer registration.

Where can I get trading advice for my business?

The following organisations offer advice or information to businesses.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has some responsibility for publishing guidance on fair trading and competition matters.  They are producing new guidance leaflets and have continued to publish those originally published by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

CMA consumer enforcement guidance (external website)

The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) has set the Business Companion Website to provide impartial free information to business.

Business Companion (external website)

Gov.uk website is a government online resource for all.  It has a section aimed at businesses and the self-employed. It contains essential information about starting up and running a business in the UK, including help if you're self-employed or a sole trader.

Gov.uk – Businesses and self-employed (external website)

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is the United Kingdom's independent regulator of advertising across all media, including marketing on websites. They work to ensure advertisements are legal, decent, honest and truthful by applying the advertising codes.

Advertising Standards Authority (external website)