Fair trading, trade descriptions and Trading Standards

Fair trading


When you sell your products and services, you must comply with a number of fair trading laws - covering areas such as:

  • pricing
  • weights and measures
  • descriptions of products and services
  • the contract between a buyer and seller
  • competition between businesses
  • intellectual property and counterfeiting

Fair traading for service businesses

If your business sells services you must provide the price of the service. This applies whether you sell to individuals or other businesses. 

If the price for a certain service is not pre-determined by your business, you must supply, if asked:

  • the price of the service
  • the method for calculating the price - if you can't give an exact price - so the customer can check the price
  • a sufficiently detailed estimate

You must also give customers:

  • the general terms and conditions, if any, that you use
  • information on any contract terms that are governed by the law of a particular country
  • the existence of an after-sales guarantee, if any, not imposed by law
  • the main features of the service, if not already apparent from the context
  • the name of the regulating institution if you work in a regulated profession, including the professional title and the European Economic Area state in which it was granted
  • information about your insurance cover, the contact details of the insurer and territorial coverage - if you are required to hold professional liability insurance or a guarantee
  • contact details where any complaint can be made
  • your legal status and form (for example, whether you are a sole trader or a limited company)
  • Your business address and contact details where you can be reached directly 

Note that this list is not exhaustive and not all service providers are covered by these rules. There may also be further information that you must provide to a customer if they ask for it.

Fair-trading law for certain goods and services

There are trading laws covering businesses that deal in specific goods and services, such as:

  • property
  • holidays

Understanding the laws that affect you is an important part of running a successful business.

If you don't comply, you could face legal penalties. It could also damage your reputation.

  • Trading Standards Service Northern Ireland
    0300 123 6262