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Consumer and Trading Standards

Law and Practice

FROM £90.00

An authoritative and comprehensive guide for everyone involved in consumer and trading standards law. This book covers the full range of the work undertaken by consumer lawyers and trading standards officers in local authorities.

Consumer and Trading Standards: Law and Practice is an authoritative and comprehensive guide for everyone involved in consumer and trading standards law. This book covers the full range of the work undertaken by consumer lawyers and trading standards officers in local authorities.

This user friendly text provides a clear and exhaustive analysis of the law including case-law and its application, wording of the statutory provision,plus authoritative commentary and analysis of the practical issues.

This new edition, covers all recent developments in consumer and trading standards law with informed commentary on new legislation and case-law including:

  • Consumer Rights Act 2015
  • Consumer Rights Directive 2011/83/EU
  • Consumer Protection (Amendment) Regulations 2014
  • Power and warrants under the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012
Covers the law in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
  • Introduction
  • Principles of Regulatory Law
  • Civil Proceedings
  • Unfair Commercial Practices
  • Unfair Trading
  • Fraud and Money Laundering
  • Intellectual Property
  • Product Safety
  • Age-restricted Sales
  • Weights and measures
  • Consumer Credit
  • Food Standards and Labelling
  • Environmental Trading Standards
  • Animal Health and Welfare
"an essential work for everyone specialised in this field of law."
Click here to read the full review
German-British Chamber of Industry & Commerce

"the Pink Book remains of great benefit to those practitioners who need to be better informed about the range of measures we have today structured to protect consumers and support honest traders and that is exactly what Lewin and Kirk have produced for us here"
Click here to read the full review
Phillip Taylor and Elizabeth Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers

"has rapidly established itself as the comprehensive handbook on Trading Standards Law and Practice ... an essential guide"
Read the full review
Robert Chantry-Price, MA, MBA, MSc, CQP, FCQI, CTSP, MCTSI

Reviews of Previous Editions

"a useful reference book"
Consumer News

"it would provide bureaux with useful guidance about whether a consumer complaint should be referred to the local trading standards department"

"the TSI warmly congratulates and thanks all concerned in the publication of this important text"
more From the Foreword by Chief Executive, Trading Standards Institute

"an excellent guide for everyone who is concerned with consumer and trading standards in law and practice."

German-British Chamber of Industry & Commerce
In the second edition of this book, in 2011, we commented on a European revolution in consumer and trading standards regulation. The same can be said of the fourth edition, although this time the shift in domestic legislation has also been seismic.

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 has radically transformed the media’s perception of this area. Although some of these rights were already available, the public’s awareness of a trader’s statutory obligations is undoubtedly spreading at pace. Enforcement powers have been consolidated and improved. Civil enforcement by public bodies has been bolstered by a raft of new ‘enhanced’ remedies.

The Consumer Rights Directive has also been implemented in the UK since the last edition of this book. Powerful new consumer rights concerning information and cancellation are yet to make it fully into the public consciousness. But they will provide stout protection for consumers in the rapidly growing area of internet sales. There are new rights that can be used by consumers in the civil courts when traders have engaged in unfair commercial practices.

For us, this has meant a number of structural changes in this edition. We have consolidated the general principles and universal enforcement powers into a chapter on criminal enforcement. There is also a brand new chapter on consumer rights, which considers the obligations set out in the directive and also those concerning consumer contracts in Part 1 of the 2015 Act.

The remainder of the chapters have also been thoroughly updated and we remain enormously grateful to our team of specialist contributors. We thank them once again for their tireless professionalism.

Time has passed quickly since our last edition in 2013 and Lucy Florence (now 8) and Sophie Matilda (now ‘nearly 6’) no longer regard pink as their favourite colour for its cover. But it is now far too late to change it. The fourth edition is, we are afraid, doomed to its existence as the most garish and gaudy title in a legal library.

We would finally like to dedicate this book again to our families. In particular, Bryan would like to thank his five grandchildren – Finbar, Orla, Joseph, Elsa and Nellie for inspiring him with their own achievements and their ever-increasing bundle of talents.

We have agreed that all royalties from the publication of Consumer and Trading Standards: Law and Practice (Fourth Edition) will again be donated to the Meningitis Trust and the British Heart Foundation.

Unless otherwise identified, the law is stated as at 1 October 2015.

Jonathan and Bryan
2015 will, in many ways, be seen as a momentous year for consumer rights. We have seen the first UK consumer law statute, directed at protecting consumers generally, for over a quarter of a century. It has been described as the ‘biggest shake up of consumer law for a generation’ by the Secretary of State for Business. There have been developments in alternative dispute resolution and new initiatives on such diverse topics as tobacco, novel psychoactive substances, plastic bags, secondary ticketing and lettings agents. I am also immensely proud that this year the Trading Standards Institute was awarded its Royal Charter, a status that it richly deserves for over a century of hard work and professionalism.

But it is not all good news. ‘The Impact of Trading Standards in Challenging Times’ reported independent evidence of the dramatic effect that austerity policies have had on consumer protection services. Staffing levels have fallen by approximately 45% since 2009. In the Spring a legal challenge against one local authority resulted in it agreeing to review its decision about how it could meet its onerous domestic and European consumer protection responsibilities. The CTSI has responded to the inevitable pressure of austerity by proposing a vision for larger, strategic enforcers to replace the current structures.

In this climate of change it is opportune to recall that the consumer protection ethos of modern-day trading standards has derived largely from a critical point in our constitutional history. Magna Carta is celebrating eight hundred years of existence in 2015. It crystalised the need of consumers for certainty: ‘let there be one measure of wine throughout the whole kingdom, and one measure of ale; and one measure of corn; and one width of cloth’. This uniformity has been the bedrock of fairness and commercial evolution since that time. However, it has been observed by jurists for centuries that, for the rule of law to exist, it must be observed. In the realm of consumer protection that requires sensible funding to ensure robust, but proportionate, enforcement.

I was delighted to have been asked to write the Foreword to the Fourth Edition of the Pink Book and I am sure it will be of great benefit to those who need to be better informed about the range of measures designed to protect consumers and support honest traders.

Baroness Crawley FRSA
House of Lords
1 October 2015
Chapter 4 Consumer Rights


Consumer rights have become centre stage in 2015 with the enactment of the Consumer Rights Act ('CRA 2015'). There is now a focus on the rights of consumers that has developed primarily from the influence of European Union ('EU') law. However, the EU Consumer Rights Directive 2011/83/EU (the 'CRD') should not of itself be considered a radical measure that introduced many new European rights for consumers. Most of the rights it provides for were already in existence in EU law and although the CRD does strengthen consumer protection it is perhaps best described as a consolidation of existing consumer rights.

The CRD consolidates the EU directives on doorstep selling 85/577/EEC (the 'Doorstep Selling Directive') and distance sales 97/7/EC ('the Distance Sales Directive'). Under Article 4, however, the CRD now provides for full harmonisation rather than the previous minimal harmonisation. This mean that Member States must implement the CRD fully and may not legislate in excess of the CRD's consumer protection measures in the areas that it covers. Guidance on the CRD has been provided by the European Commission Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers (the 'DG Guidance').

In the UK the CRD has primarily been implemented by the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 (the 'CCR 2013'), which revoke the domestic regulations on doorstep and distance selling. These provisions will continue to apply, however, to contracts entered into before 13 June 2014.

UK consumer law on the sale of goods and services has long been considered to be unnecessarily complex and in need of clarification and simplification. Part 1 of the CRA 2015 has sought to do that by consolidating the statutory implied terms and remedies that apply to the sale of goods, services and digital content to consumers. It will come into effect on 1 October 2015 for contracts entered into from that date onwards. The CRA 2015 also implements certain parts of the CRD in its consolidation of the contractual rules.

The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 ('CPUTR') have also been amended to provide for a new consumer right to obtain civil redress when a trader has engaged in an unfair commercial practice (see Chapter 5). The new Part 4A of the CPUTR will permit consumers to base civil claims on commercial practices by traders that are misleading actions or aggressive practices.

It should also be noted that many statutory rights for consumers are afforded by the Consumer Credit Act 1974 and related provisions. These are covered in Chapter 13 Consumer Credit. There are additionally specific rights to redress under the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992 (see para 6.6).

The future rights of consumers will also be addressed by the current Law Commission consultations in relation to Bills of Sale and Consumer Prepayment on Retailer Insolvency.


The CCR 2013 primarily sets out the regime under which consumers are provided with the right to specified pre-contract information when contracting with traders, and also to a 14 days' right to cancel certain contracts without reason. It applies throughout the UK with minor modification for Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The CCR 2013 is a relatively complex regulation and unhelpfully includes a variety of unclear definitions and exclusions, which perhaps reflect its origin in EU directives. The language used is a combination of EU law concepts and other terms that are nire familiar to domestic regulation.

In constructing EU provisions it is important to consider the purpose of the EU legislation. In relation to cancellation rights that purpose has already been considered by the courts under both the doorstep and distance selling directives.

In Robertson v Swift  the UK Supreme Court considered the Doorstep Selling Directive. Lord Kerr stated that:

'since the overall purpose of the Directive is to enhance consumer protection, that overarching principle must guide interpretation of the relevant national legislation.'

It is likely that this consumer protection focus will also be made when construing domestic legislation implemented as a consequence of the CRD.

The rationale for cancellation rights for doorstep sales is founded on the pressure that consumers feel when they are sold to directly in their home. It has been said that the objective of a cooling-off period is 'to protect the consumer form the element of surprise inherent in doorstep selling'. In Martin Martin,the ECJ observed that:

'the special feature of those contracts is that as a rule it is the trader who initiates the contract negotiations, and the consumer has not prepares for such door-to-door selling by, inter alia, comparing the price and quality of the different offers available.'

In Cox v Woodlands Manor Care Home [2015] the Court of Appeal (Civil Division) stated that the:

'mischief at which [the Consumer Contracts Regulations] are aimed is that consumers in their homes may feel pressured into making a decision which they would not have made if they had an opportunity to reflect in the absence of a trader.'

The rationale for consumer cancellation rights in distance contracts was explained in Messner v Firma Stefan Kruger, where the ECJ referred to recital 14 of the Distance Selling Directive:

'the right of withdrawal is designed to protect the consumer in the particular situation of mail-order sales, in which he 'is not able actually to see the product or ascertain the nature of the service provided before concluding the contract'. The right of withdrawal is therefore intended to offset the disadvantage for the consumer resulting from a distance contract by granting him an appropriate period for reflection during which he can examine and test the goods acquired.'

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