Warning over crucial consumer rights

Many Worcestershire businesses do not know that failing to provide certain information to customers may be a criminal offence, a consumer rights campaign has revealed.

Officers from Worcestershire Regulatory Services (WRS) trading standards team and West Mercia Police approached traders carrying out home maintenance work across Malvern, Kidderminster, and Stourport to discuss consumer rights with them face to face, as part of a campaign throughout April to catch rogue traders, advise the public and protect legitimate businesses.

Most of the 35 traders and 40 consumers spoken to were not aware that if a trader fails to provide the proper information about their proposed job, the right to cancel, and a 14-day cooling off period, then they may be breaking the law - and customers may legally be able to refuse to pay for any work that has been done and demand a refund for any money already paid.

The rules are in legislation designed to properly formalise contracts between consumers and businesses.

Peter Holmes, senior trading standards officer at WRS, said: “It’s important to know about this legislation because whether you are a consumer or a trader, knowing the law protects you.

“Reputable traders need to make sure they get to grips with this legislation. It’s now been in force for three years and we don’t want to see any legitimate business falling foul and committing a criminal offence for the sake of issuing the correct paperwork before a job starts.”

If you have any concerns about work that has been done to your home or work proposed to be done on your property please contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 04 05 06.

A local register of businesses who have made a commitment to WRS to abide by good trading practices and treat consumers fairly is available at