Small and medium-sized enterprises power the UK economy. From local shops and e-commerce retailers to small tech firms, garages and takeaways, the majority of UK companies are SMEs. With the latest Government statistics showing the 5.9 million SMEs account for nearly 17 million jobs and 52% of total annual business turnover, it’s clear they are more important than ever. Yet running or launching a new business is never easy, and if you sell goods or services to consumers, you have a vast array of legislation to contend with.
With COVID-19 disruption and trading issues linked to Brexit, you’ve probably got more plates to spin than ever, and it can be difficult to keep up with the many and ever evolving laws that surround trading standards and consumer protection. You must trade legally and fairly, sales and marketing methods must be honest and truthful and your pricing and labelling must be clear and accurate. Standards of quality must be met, your terms and conditions must be transparent and equitable, and you must ensure you’re covering everything required with concern to refunds and replacements.
Above all, you need to stay on the right of the law and avoid the stress and penalties that can begin with a visit from Trading Standards Officers. There are many pitfalls to avoid; you must never assume you’re compliant – and unless you are fortunate enough to have access to an in-house legal team to keep you ahead of the game, it’s all on you. You can always get ad-hoc legal advice from specialists, but costs can soon mount up. While there is always plenty of information on the internet, it’s difficult to know where to start, and with so much duff information on the web, you could easily end up doing your business more harm than good.
So what to do? Whether you are an existing business owner or just starting up, use Business Companion – a government-backed information website which provides free, impartial and up-to-date legal guidance for businesses that sell goods or supply services to consumers. Whatever you need to know, you’ll find guidance to help you understand all the legislation that applies to you.
Trading Standards Law Explained
Unsure of the laws on trading standards or confused as whether they apply to you? Business Companion will explain how the law sees your business; what you sell, where you sell, and how you sell it.
Understand Consumer Contracts
Want to know how and when a contract is made? Find out what your legal responsibilities to your consumers are and learn to know your verbal from your silent contract.
Does your company own what it needs for its operations? Get the guidance you need to protect your name, logo, designs and patents and help avoid intruding on someone else’s intellectual property.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Disputes between businesses and customers can be an unpleasant, time-consuming and costly process, especially if they end up in court. But they can often be resolved by alternative dispute resolution – Business Companion explains how.
If your business imports, produces or distributes goods, including second hand, they have got to be safe for the public to use. Business Companion will advise you on meeting the necessary standards. Protect your consumers and your business and avoid costs including recall of goods, fines, reputational damage and even imprisonment.
Feeling a little baffled by Brexit? If your business imports and exports goods to the EU you just might be. Business Companions in-depth guides will help you navigate the law and keep your business flowing.
By following the law you’ll take care of your customers and have a better business. There are times where you might need professional legal advice, but with concise Quick Guides, detailed In-Depth Guides and great news and updates, Business Companion will help you stay on top of all you need to know.
Whatever stage you are at as a business, make sure you stay on the right side of the law by using Business Companion from today.
Business Companion covers trading standards law for England, Scotland and Wales. For guidance on the law in Northern Ireland, please see nibusinessinfo.co.uk.