Bid to drive rogues out of business

Updated: 
Jo SwinsonConsumers are to be given new rights to get their money back from rogue traders who "mislead or bully" people into buying products or services, the Government has announced.

Consumer Minister Jo Swinson said the aim was to drive "rogues" out of business and give extra protection to the public.

New proposals in consumer protection regulations include consumers being given 90 days to cancel a contract and receive a full refund if they have been misled, and the right to claim compensation for any alarm or distress caused by dodgy or unfair practices.

The plans also include increasing the time limit for returning goods bought online or by phone from seven to 14 days.
Ms Swinson said: "For too long the rules that apply when buying goods and services have been murky for both consumers and businesses. The situation is even worse for vulnerable consumers who are misled into buying something they neither need nor want.

"We want consumers to be confident to shop with a range of traders and to drive rogues out of business. The new rights announced today will mean consumers are entitled to the same level of protection whether they are purchasing goods or services online, at home or in a shop."

Citizens Advice chief executive Gillian Guy said: "Citizens Advice helps with over 77,000 problems with misleading claims and pressure selling a year. A beefed-up approach to tackling misleading and aggressive practices is desperately needed and will be a step towards protecting people from bullying businesses.

"People are losing out as they take out services such as insurance, timeshares and home improvements only to later discover it is not what they were promised or wanted."

The new regulations would also ban customer helplines from charging more than the basic rate of a phone call to call the trader about something they have bought.

Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd,said: "These proposals will give consumers greater protection against rogue traders and strengthen their rights when shopping online.

"These changes, coupled with the new Consumer Bill of Rights, will give people more power to challenge bad practice."

© 2013 Press Association