29 December 2017
Consumers will be protected from sharp trading practices such as pressure selling, misleading information and hidden charges under a new law proposed by Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture (EDTSC).
The new law, which will enshrine current good practice into regulation, will ban 31 unfair practices outright (see notes) and put in place tighter controls and penalties – including prosecution – to protect both consumers and businesses from unscrupulous traders.
The EDTSC Assistant Minister, Deputy Murray Norton, who has specific responsibilities for consumer protection, said “We don’t want rogue traders cheating consumers in Jersey. This law will protect consumers from sharp practices by unscrupulous traders and level the playing field for the vast majority of honest businesses that trade fairly.
“Islanders should be able to trust the information they are given by traders, and this new law applies to all businesses that deal with consumers. It covers the entire process from advertising, quotes and contracts, through to after-sales services.
“Trading Standards will have the power to investigate alleged breaches of regulations. Rogue traders could face prosecution and a £10,000 fine.”
Trading Standards currently handle around 1,000 consumer cases a year. Only about one third of consumers disclose the value in dispute, but of this third, more than £1.8 million worth of goods and services has been investigated so far this year.
This law will provide officers with the legal enforcement powers to put things right when their investigations uncover wrongdoing, and will be able to be enforced within existing resources allocated in the Medium Term Financial Plan.