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Dealers get ready for consumer protection rules

Dealers need to be ready for new consumer protection rules coming into force in May, according to the RMIF's National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA).

The Unfair Commercial Practices Directive (UCPD), passes into law on May 26 and will harmonise unfair trading laws across all EU Member States. It introduces a general prohibition on traders not to treat consumers unfairly to act as a safety-net for consumer protection legislation.

Unfair commercial practices as defined by the directive include:

  • Conduct below a level which may be expected towards consumers

  • Misleading practices, false or deceptive messages, and the omission of important information

  • Aggressive sales techniques that use harassment, coercion or undue influence

    Sue Robinson, NFDA director, said: "Existing rules on consumer protection do not provide a full safeguard for customers, as there are some remaining grey areas which can be exploited by unscrupulous traders.

    "The implementation of the directive will enable car dealers to focus their internal consumer relations monitoring. However, the new rules will also mean more administration for dealers to deal with, and will add more work to the existing heavy load borne by Trading Standards officers. There are also some questions on where the burden of proof will lie in disputes."

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