There are legal considerations to be aware of when running a company that sells goods and services. Check out the regulations for sale of goods and services in the United Kingdom.
Robust legislation has a big effect on the sale of goods in Great Britain. Selling a product to a customer enters the seller into an agreement (or a contract) with the purchaser.
The legal rights of a customer protect them if the goods they pay for do not 'conform to contract'. In simple terms that means the goods or services are faulty in some way.
Understanding the implied rights of customers is important if you run a company selling goods and services. The existence of consumer protection rights are an automatic entitlement by law. Thus, there is no lawful requirement for them to be agreed upon in advance of a purchase.
The current Consumer Rights Act replaces the outdated Sale of Goods Act 1979. It places an obligation on anyone selling goods and services. In short, they must ensure they are fit for purpose, as described, and of satisfactory quality.
Items must be free from any defects or faults and be of a reasonable appearance. They must correspond with any description applied to it, whether as advertised by sign or by verbal methods.
Customers have the right to reject goods that do not meet the criteria. They can also demand a refund if they are not in acceptance. Accepting the sale of faulty goods or services would mean the customer:
Note: There is no obligation by law for the seller to offer a refund to a customer if the person who bought it:
Note: Certain products must be faulty to get a refund (e.g. CDs, magazines, newspapers, and perishables).
CODES OF PRACTICE: The UK laws on marketing and advertising are rigorous and prohibit all unfair commercial practices. You must ensure any advertising, including direct marketing, meets the current regulations.
PAYING INVOICES: You can check online to see when large businesses pay their suppliers in the UK. The report shows the average time they take and the proportion of invoice they fail to pay on time.
SHOPPING ONLINE: It pays to do some research before ordering goods via the Internet. Learn how to avoid a bad experience and know your rights when shopping online.
FIND A CONTRACT: You can search online for current tenders and opportunities. Use the Contracts Finder utility to look for government contracts worth £10,000 and over.
THE PUBLIC SECTOR: There are different ways to sell services when tendering for public sector contracts. The guide also explains how to supply digital services through the Digital Marketplace, and others.
GDPR UK: The Data Protection Act 2018 updates data protection regulations for small business. So how does the digital age affect small businesses and how must they respond to stay within the law?
RIGHT OF ACCESS: Organisations must respond to a data protection request (also called subject access request) in a timely manner. Check what information you need to provide and the penalty for failing to comply.
DOORSTEP SELLING: Often called cold calling, door to door selling is not illegal in the United Kingdom. Even so, canvassers must follow doorstep selling regulations to avoid penalties and prosecution.
PEDLAR'S LICENCE: You will need a pedlar's certificate to sell door to door or in the street without a stall. Check eligibility requirements, how to apply for a pedlar's licence, and the penalties for trading without one.
CHARGING FEES: An entertainment and modelling agency will charge fees for finding work. The guide explains the rules that cover how entertainment and modelling agencies work in United Kingdom.
SALES INVOICES: The guide explains the process for invoicing and taking payment from customers after a sale. Check a list of what invoices must include and how to manage customer payment options.
FCA AUTHORISATION: As a rule, offering credit to consumers means you would need to get authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority and join the Financial Services Register.
DISTANCE SELLING: The Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013 came into force on the 13th of June 2014. They implement legislation for online and distance selling and the rights of consumers.
ONLINE SELLING: Selling though the Internet means you need to follow online selling regulations. Check extra rules that apply when selling digital services such as downloads and streaming services.
ACCEPTING RETURNS: When it comes to accepting returns and giving refunds the law can be confusing. Check when you must offer a refund, repair, or replacement, and penalties for deceiving customers.
RETAIL TRADING HOURS: Normal business hours vary depending on whether it's classed as a small or a large shop. Check the law on trading hours for retailers and Sunday trading restrictions in United Kingdom.
TRADING STANDARDS: Contact a local Trading Standards office to complain about illegal sales activities. As a business owner you can also check to ensure you are trading in a legal manner.
PRODUCT LABELLING: The rules on product labelling contain few restrictions for most sellers and traders. Even so, some product labelling requirements apply for retailers and manufacturers in certain business sectors.
SALES CONTRACTS: There are strict rules on using unfair terms in sales contracts for consumers and business. They fall under the Unfair Contract Terms Act and Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations.
UNITS OF MEASUREMENT: The Weights and Measures Act 1985 provides trading standards for packaging and selling products. The section highlights the key weights and measures regulations used in the UK.
Sale of Goods and Services Law Guide for the United Kingdom