Consumer Protection Act

Applies to the whole UK

Title: Consumer Protection Act

Category: UK Law

Date: 1987

Reference: [Full text not available]

General Description:

The aim of the Consumer Protection Act is to help safeguard the consumer from products that do not reach a reasonable level of safety.

Part I of the Act, which implements into UK law the provisions of the Product Liability Directive (85/374/EEC), came into force on 1 May 1988. Although Part I applies in Great Britain only, equivalent provision for Northern Ireland was made by Order in Council. Part II of the Act, containing consumer safety provisions, came into force on 1 October 1987. These provisions apply throughout the UK.

In the safety field, this Act establishes a civil law right of redress for death, or injury, caused by using defective consumer goods (the so-called 'product liability' provisions). This right now lies against any supplier (including the manufacturer, or importer), rather than simply the person from whom the goods were purchased, as was formerly the case.

The Act goes on to establish a 'general safety requirement' namely, that all goods for domestic use must be reasonably safe, bearing in mind all the circumstances. This requirement has extended even further the Service's involvement with the safety of goods. Powers under the Act allow suspect goods to be 'suspended' from sale for up to six months, while checks on safety are conducted. If faulty, the goods may be destroyed.

These safety provisions have been extended by the General Product Safety Regulations 1994 which applies the requirement to be safe to all domestic consumer goods.

Part III of the Act regulates price indications for goods, services, accommodation, or facilities. The Act makes it a criminal offence to give consumers a misleading price indication about goods, services, accommodation or facilities. It applies however you give the price indication - whether in a TV or press advertisement, in a catalogue or leaflet, on notices, price tickets or shelf-edge marking in stores, or if you give it orally, for example on the telephone. The term "price indication" includes price comparisons as well as indications of a single price.

Enforcement of the Consumer Protection Act 1987 is the responsibility of officers of the local weights and measures authority (in Northern Ireland, the Department of Economic Development) - usually called Trading Standards Officers. If a Trading Standards Officer has reasonable grounds to suspect that you have given a misleading price indication, the Act gives the Officer power to require you to produce any records relating to your business and to seize and detain goods or records which the Officer has reasonable grounds for believing may be required as evidence in court proceedings.

Pertinence to Agriculture: Consumer Protection, Trading Standards, Price Regulation, Product Safety

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