From 6 April 2020, the practice direction that governs statements of truth for witness statements and statements of case is changing.
As we head to the polls for another General Election, many voters will consider the proposals made by our politicians with a good degree of scepticism. Away from the polling booths, it is important to remember that when it comes to selling services, you must deliver on your promises.
Whether you’re selling goods or services to businesses or individuals, you must include a clear and accurate description of what you intend to deliver. Not only will this ensure you comply with relevant legislation*, but accurate descriptions will help you confirm whether the customer has given you the right instructions and allow you scope to extend the price if those instructions change over time, limiting any project creep.
When you are marketing your goods or services, there are regulations** that prevent you from giving misleading information or applying aggressive sales tactics. This includes making sure you are delivering the goods or services you advertise for sale.
The Advertising Standards Agency has highlighted a few cases where organisations have fallen short of complying with their obligations:
- Roofoods Ltd t/a Deliveroo - A food delivery company that misled customers to believe food orders placed with multiple restaurants would be delivered to the same household at the same time.
- Money Tree Media Ltd t/a National Debt Help - A referral company masquerading as a debt-advice service was at fault for acting outside the purposes of its profession.
- Rock Paper Click Ltd t/a Government Solar Checker - A private company that misleadingly implied that homeowners would qualify for government funding to cover the cost of solar panel installation.
- Unvilla Ltd t/a/ Consol - A tanning clinic that claimed that vitamin D and UV exposure could be used to prevent acne, eczema, fibromyalgia, PMS and Seasonal Affective Disorder, but failed to provide sufficient evidence discouraged customers from seeking medical treatment. It also discouraged customers from seeking essential treatments that required medical supervision.
Failure to accurately describe your goods or services could give rise to a claim for breach of contract and, particularly in the case of consumers, a right to repeat performance or a full refund. False advertising can give rise to sanctions and damage your customer relationships, creating a significant, negative impact on your reputation.
It is particularly important to be aware of services that could fall within a regulatory scheme. Based on your current marketing materials and terms of business, do you need to register with the regulator? Are you aware of law and regulations that might apply to your business activities? Do you need to update the descriptions of your goods or services to ensure they are accurate and fall outside the scope of regulation?
For more information
If you would like to discuss your current terms of business, please contact Emma Watt.
*Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 and Consumer Act 2015
**Business Protection from Misleading Marketing Regulations 2008 and Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008
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