Free No More

The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 come into force on 26th May 2008. The Regulations contain a blacklist of 31 practices that will be deemed unfair in all circumstances.

You will be pleased to note that Spam is also caught by the Regulations, making it a criminal offence for the first time in the UK. The Regulations state that “Making persistent and unwanted solicitations by telephone, fax, e-mail or other remote media except in circumstances and to the extent justified to enforce a contractual obligation” will be an unfair commercial practice. You could find yourself in the slammer for two years. Interestingly the use of the word “free” is now unlawful in the context of describing a product as ‘free’ where the consumer has to pay “anything other than the unavoidable cost of responding, collecting or paying for delivery of the item.” This will not affect BOGOF.

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