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Business Studies

The marketing mix

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Consumer protection

Image from comedy series 'The Fast Show'. Second hand car dealer 'Swiss Tony' shows off the cars he has on display

Businesses must never be misleading about their products

The law gives customers protection against unfair selling practices. You do not need to know specific Acts but you do need to understand how fair trading regulations protect consumers.

The consumer has basic legal rights if the product is:

  • given a misleading description
  • of an unsatisfactory quality
  • not fit for its intended purpose

Sale and Supply of Goods Act 1994

This Act says that all products have to be of a 'satisfactory quality'. This means that they have to:

  • be safe
  • last for a reasonable amount of time
  • be fit for their intended purpose
  • have nothing wrong with them (unless the defect was noted at the time of sale)

Trade Descriptions Act

A fake Rolex watch

A fake Rolex watch

According to the Trade Descriptions Act, false or misleading information must not be given about products. For example, accurate information must be given about who made the product.

Fake designer goods that are marketed as genuine are a clear breach of the Trade Descriptions Act.

Consumer Credit Act 1974

This Act protects you when you borrow or buy on credit. The Consumer Credit Act states that:

  • Businesses must have licences to give credit.
  • No one under 18 is to be invited to borrow or buy on credit.
  • Businesses have to state an Annual Percentage Rate (APR). If you sign a credit agreement at home you have several days in which you can tear up the agreement. This is called a 'cooling off period'.

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