What is a Trade Act for?


The government has enacted various pieces of legislation designed to regulate and promote fair trading. The Fair Trading Act gave the Office of Fair Trading (referred to in this document as the OFT) the power to refer businesses who had a ‘monopoly’ over the market to the Competition Commission. The OFT is the UK’s consumer and competition authority. Its purpose is to protect consumers and ensure the markets work well for them.

Most of the OFT’s powers under the Fair Trading Act have been repealed by the Enterprise Act (referred to in this document as the EA) in 2003. However, the OFT has similar powers under the EA. Therefore, if you want the OFT to make investigations into a business which may have a monopoly over a market, they can do so under the EA.

Another trade act of parliament designed to protect consumers is the Trade Descriptions Act. Under this trade Act, a trader commits an offence if they knowingly or recklessly make false or misleading statements about the goods or services provided. An example might be if a trader calls the fruit drink they sell, ‘Real Fruit’. However, the drink contains only artificial ingredients. If the trader was aware of this when naming the drink, they may be committing an offence under the Trade Descriptions Act.

Trading is heavily regulated by legislation and case law. If you get involved in any trade disputes, you should contact a solicitor as soon as possible.

If you would like to obtain legal advice and information on trading laws, Caven can put you in touch with a local specialist commercial /consumer solicitor free of charge. So, if you have any questions or would like our help in finding local commercial /consumer solicitors please call us on 08001 221 2299 or complete the web-form above.

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