Consumer Protection

“This is a set with outstanding advocates who particularly impress on the prosecution side.”

Chambers UK Bar Guide [2019]

… an excellent set for consumer law …

Legal 500 [2013]

 

Consumer Protection from defective, misdescribed goods and services raises complex and difficult questions both for regulators and businesses.  Six Pump Court’s recognised ability to pick through the thicket of regulation and achieve practical and cost-effective results is widely recognised. Click here for details of those many individuals recognised by the legal practice guides.

Our reputation is based on our work in three distinct areas:

 

Trading Standards

Trademarks, Copyrights and other Intellectual Property Infringement

Utility Regulation

 

 

Trading Standards

Chambers has long standing experience of all aspects of trading standards work including cases relating to rogue traders, compliance of advertising with applicable standards, product safety (including compliance with safety regulations relating to vehicles, children’s toys, electrical goods and medical equipment), restricted sales and misconduct by letting agents and auctioneers.

This area of work covers matters relating to legislation such as the Enterprise Act 2002, the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, the Business Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, the General Product  Safety Regulations 2005, the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994, the Cosmetic Products (Safety) Regulations 2008, the Consumer Protection Act 1987 and the Fraud Act 2006.

The work of chambers also includes acting for business in proceedings for enforcement orders sought pursuant to the Enterprise Act 2002 e.g. acting for companies and regulators in cases which relate to the delayed repayment of customer deposits and the prevention of sales of unsafe products.

Recent cases of note in this area include:

  • R v a double glazing company and two of its directors – lengthy trial on over 100 count indictment alleging contravention of consumer protection regulations through allegedly misleading pricing and sales techniques
  • East Sussex County Council v Car Hire UK and its directors – enforcement proceedings under the Enterprise Act 2002 concerning alleged unfair retention of consumers’ deposit money
  • Nottinghamshire County Council v four company directors – alleged telesales scam contrary to the Business Protection from Misleading Marketing Regulations 2008
  • R v Air Ambulance Service Ltd and another which involved the prosecution of a Director and company for fraudulently obtaining money by pretending to be a charity
  • R v Beneficiaries Ltd and another which involved allegations against a company and its Director of fraud and mis-selling by an ‘hier hunting’ business
  • West Berkshire County Council v two directors – alleged breaches of consumer protection legislation by two directors of an auctioneers said to have retained and misused sale proceeds which should have been passed on to consignors, to have taken consigned goods for themselves and sold them and to have withdrawn funds for themselves from the business under guise of payments to creditors
  • Warwickshire County Council v Halfords in which the Defendant company was alleged to have breached the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 in its provision of vehicle servicing.

Members of chambers also have expertise in cases involving product recalls and Europe-wide RAPEX safety alerts, and have successfully secured the withdrawal of such a notifications on behalf of the manufacturer of luxury powerboats.

We also regularly pursue and defend ancillary confiscation proceedings arising out of trading standards cases: for details click here.

Our expertise extends beyond questions of advancing or opposing enforcement action in itself, for example acting for those seeking compensation for botched trading standards enforcement action by way of statutory arbitration claim.  For more details of our Civil Team’s work on sale of goods and services, click here.

We also offer strategic advice to enforcement authorities and strategic advice to those facing potential enforcement action.  We accept non-contentious instructions, for example drafting a suite of terms between an internet-trading booking agent company and its product providers, bankers and clients which delivered its commercial objectives without contravention of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000 or the Electronic Money Regulations 2011.  Click here for more details of our Civil Team’s Contract and Commercial Agreement work.

Click here for details of our Financial Conduct Team’s work on consumer protection regarding financial products.

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Trademarks, Copyrights and other Intellectual Property Infringement

Chambers has particular experience in dealing with criminal offences relating to allegations of all types of intellectual property infringements, in particular under the Trade Marks Act 1994 and the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.  These cases often involve allegations relating to high value dealing in counterfeit goods, from sporting memorabilia to motorcycles, and include large scale operations which involve importation of goods from the Far East to and through the United Kingdom.

Recent notable cases include:

  • R v Memon – importation of a large quantity of infringing cosmetic articles
  • R v Atif Khan and another – importation of counterfeit fitness equipment
  • Lamb v Media Protection Services – use of a foreign satellite decoder
  • Bristol City Council v KJM Superbikes Limited – importation of counterfeit motorcycles from the Far East which had been falsely branded and were allegedly unsafe
  • R v Reid – counterfeit vehicle spare parts
  • R v Cammidge and Wambura – another case of counterfeit vehicle spare parts

We also regularly pursue and defend ancillary confiscation proceedings arising out of intellectual property infringement cases, for example:

  • R v Braha – £8 million confiscation secured prosecuting counterfeit footwear
  • R v Yu and Lin – ‘hidden assets’ confiscation of proceeds of counterfeit watches

Click here for further details of our Proceeds of Crime work.

We also offer strategic advice to enforcement authorities, for example, recently advising a local authority on how to address the behaviour of a UK importer and exporter bringing millions of pounds worth of counterfeit goods from the Far East to the UK and then on through the Continent to eventual markets outside Europe.

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Utility Regulation

The de-nationalisation of utilities has led to the creation of a raft of industry-specific measures, quite independent from safety and competition regulation, to protect consumers from potential misuses of monopolies and near-monopolies.  Members of Six Pump Court have extensive experience of construing legislation of this type and dealing with enforcement bodies.  Several members of chambers have recently acted for OFGEM in separate proceedings against SSE and Scottish Power for mis-selling.  These proceedings have resulted in a fine of £10.5m against SSE and an agreed settlement figure of £8.5m in the case of Scottish Power.  These cases involved numerous and complex issues concerning the interpretation of the applicable licence conditions, issues of attribution, whistleblower evidence, matters relating to disclosure and the appropriate approach to penalty in cases of widespread and systemic mis-selling.

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