Consumer Protection Act regarding property for sale

by Readers Question

9:39 AM, 18th May 2015
About 4 years ago

Consumer Protection Act regarding property for sale

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Consumer Protection Act regarding property for sale

I am considering selling my investment property which is a terraced cottage. The estate agents have asked me to sign a Consumer Protection Regulations 2008 Questionnaire.

This mostly relates to the condition of the property. Does anyone know if this is now a legal requirement?

Many thanks

Peter



Comments

Neil Patterson

9:46 AM, 18th May 2015
About 4 years ago

Hi Peter,

I don't believe there is specific compulsory form, but there is guidance given by The Property Ombudsman I have copied below:

The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations
2008 came into force on 26 May 2008. These Regulations apply
to commercial practices before, during and after a contract
is made so for them to apply there does not have to be a
contractual relationship between consumer and agent. In
other words an agent’s dealings with a prospective buyer of a
property have to be fair even though there will be no
contractual agreement in place at any point (unless where you
are acting as a buying agent).
The Regulations set out a general prohibition on unfair
business to consumer commercial practices, also known as
the general duty not to trade unfairly. The general prohibition
is made up of two tests prohibiting practices that:

Contravene the requirements of professional
diligence, i.e. the standard of skill and care which an
agent may reasonably be expected to exercise
towards consumers.

Materially distort the economic behaviour of the
average consumer’s ability to make an informed
decision.
The Regulations specify particular prohibitions of misleading
and aggressive commercial practices. Those commercial
practices relate to ‘business to consumer’ only transactions
and to the likely effect on the ‘average consumer’.
This guidance note is designed to give agents an awareness of
the existence of the legislation and can only highlight the
general obligations placed on them – agents are strongly
advised to obtain a copy of the Regulations for reference.

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukdsi/2008/9780110811574/contents

Outright Prohibitions
There are 31 commercial practices which are considered to
be unfair to the consumer in all circumstances and are
therefore banned. These banned practices are listed in
Schedule 1 of the Regulations. A breach of the Regulations in
this regard is considered a criminal offence.

Misleading Practices
Under the Regulations, Misleading Actions and Misleading
Omissions can lead to criminal prosecution if the average
consumer takes, or is likely to take, a different decision as a
result of being given false information about your services or
the properties being marketed, is deceived about your service
matters relating to any property, including your failure to give
any consumer all relevant material information to enable
them to make an informed choice.
Material information is defined as information that the
average consumer needs to have, in the context of the
transaction, in order to make an informed decision.
Further prohibitions are placed on actions which set out to
create confusion with competitors’ services.

Aggressive Commercial Practices
These are practices that intimidate or exploit consumers and
restrict their ability to make a free or informed choice and the
practice causes the average consumer to take a different
decision. Again a breach of the Regulations in this regard can
result in criminal prosecution.
Aggressive practices include harassment (this could include
the uncontrolled use of flyers when canvassing for new
business), coercion or applying undue influence on the
consumer.

Compliance and Enforcement
Local Authority Trading Standards Services (in Northern
Ireland, the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment)
and the Office of Fair Trading have a duty to enforce these
Regulations.

Contravention of the Prohibitions, Misleading Actions and
Misleading Omissions Regulations will be considered a
criminal offence

Tony Lilleystone

11:31 AM, 18th May 2015
About 4 years ago

The agents are trying to protect their own backs. There is a 'due diligence' defence to a prosecution under the 2008 Regulations i.e. “that the commission of the offence was due to [among other things] reliance on information supplied to him by another person.”
So if the agents make statements to a buyer based on information which you have supplied they could avoid prosecution under the Regulations.

Rod

20:19 PM, 18th May 2015
About 4 years ago

Thanks for your replies and very informative. As I'm not a trader it seems there is nothing to worry about. Thanks again for your trouble.


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