Trade Description Complaints

Traders have a legal obligation to ensure that they meet the rules set out within the Trade Descriptions Act. In short the Act states that products must be described how they are; the description relates to all factors about a product including where it was made, when it was made, how it was made and who made it. Under the Act traders are not allowed to knowingly describe a product or service in a way which is not true. The Trade Description Act was created to protect consumers when they purchase products. Consumers who feel they have purchased a product that does not match the description should make a complaint to their local Trading Standards official. It is the role of this organisation to investigate all complaints that are placed.

It should be noted that small insufficient mistakes that have been made such as typing mistakes do not represent a breach of the Trades Description Act. Consumers are within their rights to make a complaint about any trader that they feel has broken the Act. There is a set process to how a complaint should be made by a consumer, in the first instance the complaint should not be made to the Trade Standards body unless this is a wide scale breach.

In the first instance a consumer should approach the trader that sold the goods or service to them. They should explain that they feel that the product does not meet the original description and that they would like the matter rectifying. All traders are legally obliged to correct all complaints that are made in relation to the Trade Description Act. Failure to rectify a problem will leave the consumer in the legal position to take the problem failure, which is likely to result in the problem being reported to Trading Standards.

If you have addressed the situation with the trader of which you have a complaint relating to and this has still not been resolved the next step is to report the problem. In the UK the responsible organisations are local Trading Standards offices. The personnel here will investigate the problem and are likely to require evidence proving that the Trade Description Act has been breached. In order for any action to be taken it must be established that the Act has been broken.

A complaint can be made about the description of a product or service which as been made. The description does not have to be a written description for a complaint to be accepted. For example an oral exchange or interactive exchange is also regarded as a description under the Trade Description Act.

Penalties will be imposed on traders who are found guilty of breaching the regulations set out in the legislation. Repeat offenders could face extensive prosecution or a ban from trading in certain areas.