As part of the audit process we will advise you of the legislation within the Trading Standards remit and Codes of Practice applicable to your business and where appropriate we will provide you with advice on what you need to do in order to comply.
It is a requirement of membership that you comply with applicable legislation and Codes of Practice and follow reasonable advice provided by us both before and during your membership.
There are a number of websites which allow you to identify the legislation applicable to your business; these are searchable by the goods and services you provide.
www.businesscompanion.info – Maintained by the Trading Standards Institute this allows you to search by your business type and provides advice on trading standards and consumer protection legislation, and how to comply with it
www.food.gov.uk – Specifically relates to food businesses
www.gov.uk – Central Government website providing advice on legislation and information on a wide range of topics including employment, tax, and importing and exporting goods
www.fca.org.uk – If you offer credit, contains advice on the licensing requirements and links to credit legislation
Codes of Practice
There are a number of Codes of Practice which are applicable across most business sectors, some which apply only if you carry out specific activities and some which are a requirement of professional or trade association membership.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), for example, publishes a Code of Practice which sets out requirements for all forms of advertising no matter what the product is. We will therefore require that all advertising complies with the ASA Code of Practice.
If you use premium rate telephone numbers there are specific requirements set out by the Phone-Paid Sevices Authority, again in a Code of Practice, and we will require that you comply.
We will ask you to describe what your business does and how it operates, it is important that we are fully aware of the range of goods and services you provide as this is your opportunity to use our expertise to help your business.
We will then talk you through the relevant legislation and identify the legal requirements.
Much of the legislation Trading Standards enforces is explained in practical terms in guidance published either by the Government or by us. We will either provide you with the guidance notes or tell you where you can get the notes from. Most of the information is available online and is updated regularly.
We may also identify ‘best practice’, this can be over and above the minimum legal requirement or, if followed, is more likely to ensure that you continue to comply at all times. We will tell you if what we recommend is ‘best practice’ rather than the legal minimum.
Ultimately it is your responsibility to ensure that your business complies with applicable legislation and, as you know your business best, to ensure you work in a way that enables you to do this.
All contracts between businesses and consumers are governed by legislation which sets out the rights and obligations of both the business and the consumer. This legislation will typically include
- Sale of Goods Act 1979 (as amended)
- Sale of Goods and Services Act 1981
You must not restrict the rights of consumers as set out in these Acts.
All written standard term contracts must comply with the requirements of the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999. There are a number of publications available setting out common terms used within specific business sectors; we will identify these for you.
Some authorities will agree to review your terms and conditions, others may direct you to standard contracts agreed by professional or trade associations, but it remains your responsibility to ensure that written contracts are both fair and clear.
Advertising and Pre-contractual Information
All advertising must comply with relevant legislation and the ASA Code of Practice.
In some specific circumstances there is a statutory requirement to provide pre-contractual information and you will need to do so for most finance and insurance based products.
You should also provide consumers with sufficient and accurate information to allow them to make an informed decision as to whether to purchase goods and services or not. You should not omit material information from such information and to do so may be a criminal offence.