There are a number of laws that protect consumers from unsafe or unsatisfactory goods and services.
Consumer Rights Act
The Consumer Rights Act makes it a legal requirement for every business to ensure that the products or services it sells meet minimum standards.
All goods you sell must:
- correspond with any description given - verbally, in writing or in an illustration
- be of satisfactory quality
- be fit for their purpose
All services you supply must be carried out:
- with reasonable care and skill
- within a reasonable time and for a reasonable charge, unless these matters have previously been agreed with the customer
Service providers must also provide specific information such as their business name and address and details of the service to be provided. See customer protection.
Customers who are unhappy with goods may be able to claim compensation, while in other circumstances they may be able to ask for repair or replacement of the goods.
If any services you provide don't meet the requirements specified above you will be in breach of contract and customers may well be entitled to compensation.
Your responsibility to your customers can last for a maximum of six years, dependent on the nature of the goods or services.
Product liability law
If anyone incurs damage to their private property, is injured or killed as a result of using goods you have supplied you can be sued under product liability law.
Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulation
The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations give consumers the right not to be misled by the actions or omissions of traders. They also protect consumers from aggressive or high-pressure selling techniques.
Business customers are protected by rules that prohibit misleading advertising.
Know your legal responsibilities
- Do you need a licence?
- Get the right business insurance
- Comply with the law when providing goods and services
- Know your customers' rights
- Distance and online selling rules
- Understand pricing legislation
- Buying goods from outside NI
- Selling goods outside NI
- GDPR compliance checklist
- Pay your business rates
- Understand staff contracts and your responsibilities
- Taking on contractors and subcontractors
- What you need to do about health and safety
- Know your legal obligations on pensions
Understand tax and VAT
Sell and market your products or services