Trade Descriptions Act 1968

Trade Descriptions Act 1968

Trade Descriptions Act 1968

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The Trade Descriptions 1968 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which prevents manufacturers, retailers or service industry providers from misleading consumers as to what they are spending their money on.This law empowers the judiciary to punish companies or individuals who make false claims about the products or services that they sell.

Applying a false trade description to goods is a strict liability offence: provided it is shown that the description was applied and was false, the accused has to prove certain defences in order to escape conviction.

Each product sold must be as described, of satisfactory quality, and fit for purpose as described refers to any advert or verbal description made by the trader. Satisfactory quality covers minor and cosmetic defects as well as substantial problems and means that products must last a reasonable time but does not give any rights if a fault was obvious or pointed out at point of sale. Fit for purpose covers not only the obvious purpose of an item but also any purpose queried by the customer and given assurances about by the trader.

False descriptions as to services require the more normal proof of mens rea (guilty intent).

The Act excludes matters relating to land and buildings, which are now dealt with under the provisions of the Property Misdescriptions Act 1991.

Future changes

The Act will be in conflict with the EU Unfair Commercial Practices Directive, which has been adopted in the UK and will be implemented from...
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