Proposed new BIll of Consumer Rights
Proposed new Bill of Consumer Rights is good news for trading standards, provided the lines are drawn in the right place, says TSI and the NTSB
The Trading Standards Institute (TSI) and the National Trading Standards Board (NTSB) welcome the increased clarity from the proposed Bill of Consumer Rights but urge against limiting enforcement powers.
The draft Bill of Consumer Rights consolidates a vast array of complicated and overlapping consumer legislation, improving certainty for consumers and businesses alike.
The Trading Standards Institute's chief executive Leon Livermore said: "In this difficult economic climate clear and comprehensive consumer rights are more important than ever – as budgets continue to be squeezed in households and in local government, we need to see more empowered consumers, with the right tools and support to stand their ground in the face of unfair, dishonest or downright criminal business practices.
"Additional clarity of rights will not only help consumers but also millions of businesses who are often unsure of their legal obligations towards consumers and will therefore haemorrhage hard earned margins settling consumer disputes when there is no legal necessity to do so. Clarity of rights is a 'win-win' for everyone provided the Government draws the lines in the right place.
"We welcome the introduction of a set 30-day period for when consumers can return faulty goods and get a full refund, bringing long overdue clarity to the current rules which are complex and confusing.
"Our main concern lies with the new requirement for trading standards officers to give reasonable notice to businesses prior to inspections; if trading standards officers cannot exercise their powers of entry without prior notification, it is clear that rogues can always stay one step ahead.
"Ministers have given us assurances that they do not want to stop on the spot checks- we look forward seeing the detail of this and continuing to work closely with BIS as we enter the pre-legislative scrutiny phase."
The National Trading Standards Board's chairman Lord Toby Harris echoed Mr Livermore and added: "Having effective enforcement powers is particularly important for our e-crime, Scambusters and illegal money lending teams, who work on a regional and national basis."
"We are particularly pleased with the proposals in the Bill of Consumer Rights to clarify the law enabling trading standards to work easier across local authority boundaries.
"This will help improve consumer confidence and protect law-abiding businesses from unfair competition posed by rogue traders operating across boundaries, causing some £4.8billion worth of consumer harm.
Notes for Editors:
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Trading Standards Institute (TSI)
TSI is a training and membership organisation that has represented the interests of the Trading Standards profession since 1881 nationally and internationally. We aim to raise the profile of the profession while working towards fairer, better informed and safer consumer and business communities.
TSI’s members are engaged in delivering frontline trading standards services in local authorities and in businesses.
The National Trading Standards Board (NTSB)
The NTSB is a group of senior and experienced local government heads of trading standards, representing all trading standards services across England and Wales. The Board has been set up by the Government as part of changes to the consumer protection landscape and an enhanced role for trading standards.
NTSB provides leadership influence, support and resources to help combat consumer and business detriment locally, regionally and nationally.
DATE: 12 June 2013