What is the Trades Description Act?

The Trades Description is an act which was established to protect the rights of consumers, and to state requirements to businesses. The act was granted by the United Kingdom Parliament in 1968. At the time, this was a major step toward the protection and rights of consumers. In simple terms the act is one which prevents any products or services being sold on the basis of misleading information. Any false claims or information provided leaves those supplying the information liable to punishment.
The main points of this act stat:

* Products must be sold as described
* Products must be of satisfactory quality
* Products must be fit for purpose as described

It must be noted that this act no longer covers buildings or land, the new act from 1991, Property Misdecriptions Act, now covers these claims.

It is very important for any business to comply with this act, failing to do so may see the business being claimed against, which if successful can be very costly for the business. The act is very important to consumers as it provides a level of assurance when buying goods or services that they are as stated. Although despite the act, many complaints are still received against businesses each year.

One difficulty with this act is when a consumer believes the act has been broken but they are unaware of who or how to contact the relevant organisation. Not just this, but any type of punishment towards a business is notoriously difficult to gain. Due to this, many consumers feel it is pointless pursuing any claim.
Although the act must not be regarded as useless, it has changed the way businesses operate and this act must be followed. Although for it to operate more effectively, red tape and loopholes which businesses can use in their favour, must be removed.

The act makes it a criminal offence to:

* Make any false statements or comments
* Recklessly make a statement which is misleading or false

If a business was to be taken to court, there are maximum penalties in place. The maximum penalty within a local magistrates court is 5,000 per offence; this may be seen as a small amount for a large business. Although if a case is carried out at a magistrates court, the offence is likely to be minor. Any serious breaches are taken to the crown court; here there is the potential for an unlimited fine and the possibility of up to two years in prison. Anybody who is found guilty is likely to lose their trades credit license, which is vital for trading.

One current major investigation which relates to a breach of the trades description act is connected with banks which provide loans or credit cards. Thousands of people have been mis-sold insurance; this was based on false information. These banks are now liable, entitling many people to claim back thousands of pounds from up to ten years ago.