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Whilst the above guidance mainly deals with distance selling rules related to consumer contracts through online marketplaces, it is important to note that online sales are covered by the full range of trading standards laws. Failure to comply with trading standards laws can lead to enforcement action and sanctions, which may include a fine and/or imprisonment. For more information please see 'Trading standards: powers, enforcement & penalties' guide on this website.
Relevant trading standards laws
The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs) require, amongst other things, that the information provided about your products, such as the price and description, is not misleading (omissions are also prohibited by law). The CPRs also contain a list of banned practices, which are considered to be always unfair.
The protection for consumers in this respect has been enhanced by adding civil redress against traders for misleading and aggressive practices under the Consumer Protection (Amendment) Regulations 2014 if this commercial practice was a 'significant factor' in the consumer's decision to enter into the contract.
The Consumer Rights (Payment Surcharges) Regulations 2012 (amended by the Payment Services Regulations 2017). Businesses are not permitted to impose surcharges for taking payment by a consumer debit or credit card, or an electronic payment service. See the 'Payment surcharges' guide on this website.
Product safety. All goods must be safe for consumers to use. Some goods (for example, furniture and toys) have to comply with specific safety regulations and these rules can be quite complex. For more information please see the guides in the 'Product safety' section on this website.
Intellectual property. It is prohibited to sell counterfeit goods and unauthorised copies of copyright work (such as audio and video recordings or computer software and games). See the 'Intellectual property' guide on this website.Back to top