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New powers for Trading Standards will help keep consumers safe

Date: 11/06/2008           Category: Community Safety

Medway Council's Trading Standards team has been given new powers to help tackle rogue traders. The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations (CPRs) came into force in May and is one of the biggest changes to consumer law in the last 40 years. The new regulations will give trading standards officers the power to clamp down on unfair sales and marketing practices to protect consumers and honest businesses. They will apply to every business that sells goods or services to members of the public, and will ban 31 types of unfair sales practices outright, including aggressive sales techniques. Medway Council's Portfolio Holder for Community Safety and Enforcement Cllr Rehman Chishti said: “I welcome these new powers, which will strengthen Medway Trading Standards’ contribution to our Building Safer Communities agenda. “These powers will not only stop rogue trader activity but also help honest businesses to increase their customer base. It is so often the case that bad businesses create uncertainty in the market. “As a result, honest traders who know the value of giving good customer service will face reduced competition from rogue businesses trying to compete on unfair terms.” The new regulations are designed to simplify consumer law, replacing 23 existing pieces of legislation, including the Trade Descriptions Act and controls on misleading prices. They create a modern framework of law that applies in all EU states, extending protection for consumers and establishing common regulatory standards for UK businesses trading across the whole of Europe. Building contractor and Medway Fair Traders scheme member mhs commercial welcomes the new legislation that it hopes will further protect consumers. Business Development Manager for mhs commercial Kevin Martyn said: “These new powers are a good sign for legitimate businesses in the area. Too often, businesses face unfair competition from rogue businesses that flout the law. “These new regulations are a positive step to help combat unscrupulous businesses.” Medway Fair Trader is a Medway Trading Standards initiative that allows customers to check which businesses have been approved before purchasing their goods or services, while ensuring that businesses are fair and competitive. The Office of Fair Trading has accredited the scheme. Customers have peace of mind and the knowledge a contractor or retailer is obeying the law, that contracts are fair and written in plain English, itemised invoices are provided, and an assurance work will not be carried out without their permission. More than 200 plumbers, builders, home repair companies, retailers and funeral directors have signed up to Medway Fair Trader since it was launched four years ago. For more details and a list of members call 01634 333555 or visit www.medway.gov.uk/fairtrader