Cosumer and Employee Protection

HideShow resource information

Consumer Protection Laws

Over the years, succesive gonvermens have passed a wide range of legislation, ensuring consumers and customers get a fair and resonable service from businesses. The legislation has two main thrusts.

  • Consumer Protect Law - Regulations which govern the description and labelling of products, trade terms and credit agreements.
  • Competition Law - Regulations that ensure fair comeptition in markets and so benefiting consumers by prohabitating restrictive practices and preveting monopaly situations.

All businesses need to comply with this wide-ranging legislation which imposes a cost that some companys find hard to meet. Faliure to comply results in fines and lefgal sanctions as well as damage to a businesses reputation.

1 of 8

Labelling, Packaging and Trade Description

Laws relating to product labelling and description are desgined to ensure that business do not try to encourage trade by providing false informatin. Consumers have a right to know what they are buying before the item is brought.

The law on labelling and packaging relates to all goods which includes food and other retail products. An example would be that food labelling regulations include strict regulations regarding date marking, this is shown through most packaged food products being required to be date marked with indication of their durability.

2 of 8

Office of Fair Trading

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has power to investigate business practices to ensure fairness for the consumer. The OFT can examine the terms of trade. An example would be that the OFT have examined terms used in holiday caravan agreements to make sure they are fair and clear. It is recommended that suppliers use standard contract terms and has rules that some contracts should be revised in order to comply with the consumer protection regulations.

Another area that can be examined by OFT is pricing. An example would be that they have warned holiday tour operators about unclear pricing. It has ruled that under Fair Trading Act (subseded by Enterprise Act 2002) tour operators must include aviation security charges in basic holiday prices. They cannot hit customers with a hefy charge, after booking their holiday. OFT has warned the faliure to advertise brochure prices fairly will result in enforcement action.

3 of 8

Consumer Credit

There is far more credit avaliable to consumers today as om 1971 there was only one type of credit cardd but today there are over 1300 on offer. With this comes thriving loans industry and in addition, businesses are offering customers with a range of hire purchases and other 'buy now, pay later' deals.

Regulations are needed to protect consumers against unfair credit practices as there is concern that consumers are not always aware of the intrest rates charged on credit deals. Loan deals often tie people in for the long term and include penalties for early repayment. The gonvernment is concerned that some lenders are acting irresponsibly by faling to make sure consumers can afford the cost of credit.

The gonvernment is condering a shake up of the UK consumer credit laws amid concern about levels of personal debt.

4 of 8

Regulatory Bodies

Bodies such as the Office of Fair Trading and the Competition Commision have a remit which allows them to investigate any indsutry. In some industies how ever, there are also sepearate regulatory authorities which conttrol competition within specifc sectors. These regulatory bodies tend to be in sectors such as telecommunications, rail transport, water and energy supply.

These regulatory bodies can intervene to ensure fair competition and pricing.

5 of 8

Employment Protection

Businesses have more than just the statuory responsiblities off; minimum wage, holiday entitlement and maternity leave. These others inlude; a duty to protect victimisation in the work place, bullying in the workplace and health and safety to all staff.

Work activites are covered by Health and Safety laws with a government body which ensures legislation is ensured. The main regulations are;

  • Heakth and Safety at Work Act 1974 - Regulations made under this Act such as the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH) and the Work place Reuglations apply to all work situations.
  • Food and Environmentsal Protection Act, Control of Pesticides Regulations
  • Laws that cover health and safety in specific insdutries such as mining, railway, offshore oil and gass and nuclear energy.
  • Older laws the pre-date the Health and Safety at Work Act such as the Factories Act cover a wide range of industries, but not all workplaces, and most of these laws are gradually being modernised.

Given the wide range of legislation avaliable, every business has to invest time and oney in to make sure that it complies with the requirements, The cost can be extremly high. All staff have to be made aware of the safe ways to work and how to avoid hazards, meaning businesses need to run health and safety training programmes which are consistenly updated with the changing regulations.

6 of 8

Employment Protection

Businesses have more than just the statuory responsiblities off; minimum wage, holiday entitlement and maternity leave. These others inlude; a duty to protect victimisation in the work place, bullying in the workplace and health and safety to all staff.

Work activites are covered by Health and Safety laws with a government body which ensures legislation is ensured. The main regulations are;

  • Heakth and Safety at Work Act 1974 - Regulations made under this Act such as the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH) and the Work place Reuglations apply to all work situations.
  • Food and Environmentsal Protection Act, Control of Pesticides Regulations
  • Laws that cover health and safety in specific insdutries such as mining, railway, offshore oil and gass and nuclear energy.
  • Older laws the pre-date the Health and Safety at Work Act such as the Factories Act cover a wide range of industries, but not all workplaces, and most of these laws are gradually being modernised.

Given the wide range of legislation avaliable, every business has to invest time and oney in to make sure that it complies with the requirements, The cost can be extremly high. All staff have to be made aware of the safe ways to work and how to avoid hazards, meaning businesses need to run health and safety training programmes which are consistenly updated with the changing regulations.

7 of 8

Trade Unions

Through the law safeguards indivduals employees rights, including the right to work in  safe environment, many feel they need additional protection. Trade unions exist to protect their unions work in the intrest of employees by;

  • Campaigning against unfair practices by employees.
  • Demanding that businesses respect employees statuory rights under exisiting legislation.
  • Work for improvements in conditions of employment such as hours of work, holidays and rates of pay
  • Representing memebers in case of disicpline, grievance, dismissal or redundancy.

Trade unions work for their memebers by negotitating on their behalf with employers and in some cases, providing additional legal adivce and financial help.

An example would be that trade uinions can try and protect memebers against unfair dismissal. Under the terms of Employment Protection Act 1978, every employee has the right not to be unfairly dismissed. Employers have to follow specified procedures before they sack employees or make staff redundant.

Trade unions can have an influenc on business decisions by ensuring that managers are aware of employment legislation and that they take in to account of the views of employees in planning changes. The relationship between trade unions and businesses can be confrontational and industrial disputes can lead to strike action  ut there are benefits from giving employees representation.

8 of 8

Comments

No comments have yet been made

Similar Applied Business resources:

See all Applied Business resources »See all How People are Influenced at Work resources »