Sales of Goods Act 1979:
The Sales of Goods Act enforces a strict set of rules that retailers and sellers must abide by. When an individual buys goods they enter into a contract with the seller of these goods. The Sales of Goods Act means that goods must be as described, of satisfactory quality and fit for purpose. This means, for example, if something was advertised as the colour red and when it was purchased was in fact the colour blue, the Sales of Goods Act will have been breached. Fit for purpose means both a products everyday purpose, and also any specific purpose that was agreed with the seller when the sale was made. An example of this would be if you bought an add-on for a computer and the seller said it would be compatible with all computers and it was not with yours.
Goods sold to consumers must also be true to any images or sample you were in store, or descriptions given on brochures or websites. For example if a hotel brochure had images of a clear blue seafront and when you arrived at the hotel it was a muggy green sea, the hotel will have breached the Sales of Goods Act. The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008: The consumer protection from unfair trading regulations are there to protect consumers from unfair of misleading trading, practices, misleading omissions and aggressive sales tactics. The three main sections of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading regulations are: The general ban on unfair commercial practices.
Misleading and aggressive practices which are assessed by the effect they have, or will have, on the average consumer. The Black List which contains the list of practises which are unfair and therefore banned. Companies cannot use misleading or underhand tactics to get a consumer to part with their cash. Misleading actions include offering non – existent goods or offering a small amount of items at the advertised amount when the large demand will not be met. Misleading omissions are where a company deliberately leaves information out. Businesses cannot leave out important information that a consumer needs when making an informed transactional decision. Businesses cannot hide or provide information in an unclear, unintelligible, ambiguous or untimely manner.
To prevent harassment, traders who abuse sales tactics by refusing to take no for an answer, refuse to leave until a contract is signed or use threatening behaviour will be committing an offence. A practice is considered aggressive if the customer’s freedom of choice is significantly impaired. The legislation has a list of criteria to determine whether a commercial practice uses harassment coercion, including physical force or undue influence. Consumer Credit Acts 1974 and 2006:
The Consumer Credit Act regulates credit card purchases and also offers protection when entering into a loan or hire agreement. The Consumer Credit Acts covers these areas:
Content and form of credit agreements
Method of calculating annual percentage
Procedures relating to events of default, termination or early settlement Credit advertising
Section 75 which gives you extra protection on items costing over £100 and up to £30,000 paid by credit card If you were to sign a credit agreement off trade premises, you have to the right to cancel the agreement within your cooling off period. In an event like this a notice of your cancelation rights must be included within the copy of your credit agreement and must be sent to you within seven days. You then have 5 days to cancel the agreement. The effect of cancelation is that the agreement and any linked transaction is treated as if it were never entered into. The Financial Services Regulation apple when an individual enter into a credit agreement at a distance e.g. over the phone. The regulations require that a specific amount of information is provided in good time before you are bound by the contract. This information must include: Name and address of the creditor
Description of the main characteristics of the credit agreement
Total price payable for the credit
Arrangements for payment
Information regarding a right of withdrawal
Consumer protection (Distance Selling) Regulations:
Under distance selling regulations you are entitled to important information about your seller, including a geographical address. A buyer’s right to cancel an order starts as soon as the order is placed and does not end until seven days after the product is received. If a product is faulty or you’re sent the wrong items the retailer must pay for the cost of return postage. When an individual makes a long distance purchase e.g. online or over the phone the seller must give the following information about the products or service: A description of the goods or service
The price of the goods or service
Delivery and any cancelation rights
Information about the seller
The information will normally be in the terms and conditions, a geographical address must be included when a payment is made and any rights to cancel must be given. If the seller wants to substitute goods they must say so before you make your order. Data Protection Act 1998:
The Data Protection Act controls how someone’s personal information is used by organisations, businesses or the government. Everyone responsible for using data has to follow rules called the ‘data protection principles’. They must ensure that the information is: Used fairly and lawfully
Used for limited, specifically stated purposes
Used in a way that is adequate, relevant and not excessive
Kept for no longer than is necessary
Handled according to people’s data protection rights
Kept safe and secure
Not transferred outside the UK without adequate protection
There is stronger legal protection for more sensitive information such as: Ethnic background
Code of Advertising Practice and Advertising Standards Authority: The advertising standards authority is the UK’s regulator of advertising across all media. They are there to try and make every advert responsible; the advertising standards authority makes sure all adverts in the UK are not; misleading, harmful or offensive. They act through complaints and also proactively check adverts themselves. If the advertising standards authority judges an advert to breach the UK advertising codes it must be withdrawn or amended and the advertiser may not use the approach again. The UK advertising codes lay down rules that agencies and media must follow. They include general rules that make sure advertising must be responsible, must not mislead, or offend and specific rules covering advertisement to children and ads for specific sectors such as; alcohol, gambling, motoring and health and financial products. Pressure Groups:
A pressure group, such as the Greenpeace or the RSPCA, are a group of people whose aim is to influence government policy or protect or advance a particular cause or interest. These groups often promote a specific issue and try to influence the people who have power to make decisions to be more sensitive to their area of interest. Examples of this are things like trying to ban the use of real fur, leather or sheepskin on clothes, furniture and other household objects. Another example of pressure groups and what they do is Greenpeace, Greenpeace’s motives are all associated with the environment and their main objectives are to prevent climate change, protect the rain forests, defend oceans etc. Acceptable Language:
Acceptable language is enforced in marketing to ensure that advertisements are acceptable for all those that are exposed to it. Advertisements have to be censored from inappropriate language where necessary in order to make them suitable for all ages, cultures and religions. For example if an advert is shown on children’s TV channel, such as CITV, in the morning then it is obvious that adverts should be using acceptable language in order to not cause offence to viewers or expose younger children to bad language.