The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008
The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008

The following Corporate Crime guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008
  • The regulatory regime under CPUTR
  • The CPUTR offences
  • Dealing with mode of trial for offences under CPUTR
  • Who is liable to criminal sanction for CPUTR offences
  • Sentencing and penalties for offences under CPUTR
  • Time limits for commencing a prosecution under the regulations
  • Defences to CPUTR offences
  • Due diligence defence
  • Innocent publication defence

The regulatory regime under CPUTR

The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPUTR 2008), SI 2008/1277 came into force on 26 May 2008. They ban traders in all sectors from using unfair commercial practices towards consumers that prevent them from making free and properly informed buying decisions. They apply to business-to-consumer transactions and apply to conduct before, during and after the contract is made. They also affect business-to-business practices closely connected to consumers. For example, a trader supplying food products to a supermarket will need to ensure its labelling complies with CPUTR 2008.

In most cases, a breach of CPUTR 2008 is a criminal offence with penalties ranging from a fine to up to two years' imprisonment. The offences include incorrect or misleading descriptions, statements, marketing and pricing, as well as using aggressive practices. In England and Wales prosecutions will usually be conducted by local authority trading standards services (TSS). Whilst prosecutions can be conducted by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) they will now have more of a strategic role in enforcement being selective about which cases it chooses to take on. The CMA will apply its prioritisation principles and aim to maximise the impact of its work by taking an enforcement lead that others can follow and/or seeking 'delivery partners' for targeting messages for business or consumers