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Fair trading and pricing

Trading Standards enforces a wide range of legislation which ensures goods and services we purchase are described truthfully.

We do this by providing businesses with guidance and taking enforcement action, including prosecution, against those who flout the law. Detailed guidance on fair trading laws including best practice procedures, can be found via the Chartered Trading Standards Institutes Business Companion.

Fair trading

Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading

The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (known as the CPRs) control unfair practices used by traders when dealing with consumers and create criminal offences for traders that breach them.

Accurate descriptions

Traders are responsible for making sure the products they offer and sell to consumers are accurately described. It is important to ensure that consumers have the right information about the products they are being offered so they can decide whether or not they want to purchase them.

Find out more about accurate product descriptions

Business to business marketing

The Business Protection from Misleading Marketing Regulations 2008 (BPRs) prohibit misleading business-to-business advertising and impose further restrictions on how businesses compare their products to rival products from other companies.

Digital content

Chapter 3 of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 covers contracts between a trader and consumer in relation to digital content, as distinct from goods and services, whilst also clarifying that any goods containing faulty digital content are protected by the remedies provided for faulty goods.

The sale and resale of tickets

The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 affect you if you sell or resell tickets for events. These Regulations not only affect the person who resells the ticket, but also the promoter or venue that sells direct to the consumer

Package travel holidays

Legislation defines various types of package travel and similar arrangements and outlines the responsibilities and obligations of holiday organisers and retailers with regard to prices and financial security arrangements. It also covers aspects of the package holiday industry relating to contract requirements, surcharges and compensation.

Find out more about fair trading for package travel holidays

Membership logos and claims of approval

Logos denoting membership of, or approval by, an organisation may be legitimately used by businesses. However their misuse, deliberate or otherwise, can result in a commercial advantage enabling work to be acquired unfairly, and may constitute a breach of the law.

Find out more about the proper use of membership logos and claims of approval

Company and business names

Requirements for the use, display and disclosure of company, business and trading names are detailed in four pieces of legislation.

Find out more about regulations around company and business names

Internet auctions and marketplaces

When a business sells goods over the internet some special rules apply. This guide covers what to do if you sell through an internet auction or marketplace. Some rules apply whether your customer is a business or a consumer, whilst others apply only when selling to consumers.

Unfair contract terms

If you wish to rely on the terms of the contracts you have with consumers it is essential that those terms are 'fair'. An unfair term is not legally binding on consumers, and enforcers can also take action to stop you using it.

Find out more about unfair contract terms

Consumer contracts

The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 apply to contracts made both on and away from business premises, as well as contracts made 'at a distance'. There are also rules for businesses providing digital content.

These Regulations affect most businesses that contract with consumers, irrespective of where and how the contract is entered into. They do not apply to contracts where traders buy goods or services from consumers, nor do they apply to contracts between consumers.


Providing Price Information

Where goods are offered for sale to consumers they must have their price clearly indicated and be inclusive of VAT. This is controlled by the Price Marking Order 2004, which applies to goods only and is limited to sales between traders and consumers. It does not apply to services or to goods supplied in the course of the provision of a service; nor does it apply to sales by auction, sales of works of art or antiques.

Find out more about providing accurate pricing information

Pricing and payment

If you provide goods to consumers you have a responsibility to make sure they are aware of the price of buying from you.

Find out more about pricing and payments

Guidance for Traders on Pricing Practices

The guidance for traders on pricing practices covers, amongst other things:

  • recommended retail price (RRP)
  • comparison to a competitor's price
  • comparison with prices in different circumstances
  • time limited offers
  • volume offers

Payment surcharges

Whichever methods of payment a business accepts, there are costs associated with handling and processing the payment. Most businesses treat these costs like any other costs, and they simply set prices at a level that is intended to generate an acceptable return or rate of profit.

Find out more about payment surcharges

Displaying prices in hotels

If you offer accommodation as part of a business you must comply with the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs) and the Provision of Services Regulations 2009.

Find out more about displaying prices in hotels

Civil remedies

There are certain consumer rights we all have when buying goods and services. The guidance listed details some of these rights.

The sale and supply of goods

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 sets out rules relating to the supply of goods to consumers. A single set of rules applies to all contracts where goods are supplied, whether by way of sale, hire, hire-purchase or work / materials contracts. The Act also governs the supply of services and digital content.

The supply of services

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 sets out rules relating to the supply of services to consumers. The Act also governs the supply of goods and digital content, and it provides a single set of rules for the sale and supply of goods, including where goods are supplied as part of a service or a contract for work and materials.

Delivery charges

When a trader sells goods at a distance - for example through a website, internet marketplace or by mail order - the goods have to be delivered to, or collected by, the consumer. In some cases, traders will arrange delivery of goods even if the consumer makes a purchase in person - for example, because the goods are bulky or because they have to be made or obtained to the customer's order.

Advice on delivery charges

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

When there is a dispute between a consumer and a trader there are a range of options for resolving the dispute without going to court. These options can often be quicker and cheaper, and lead to a more satisfactory solution, than taking legal action. 

Find out more about Alternative Dispute Resolution

Published: 27 July 2021

Last updated: 27 July 2021