The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has recently issued a Code of Conduct for the Retail Sector. It is hoped that the code will be a practical guide for businesses and consumers alike in relation to any disputes arising from the purchase of goods locally.
While most retailers in Gibraltar adhere to the core principles already, it has been established in order to level the playing field and make the retail experience on the Rock more consistent. The OFT has also listened to shoppers in forming part of the code, especially concerning the areas which attract the most complaints.
The OFT is committed to preventing business practices which cause harm to consumer interests. It will therefore investigate any unreasonable departure by a retailer from the best practice guidance set out in the code and this may, where appropriate, lead to further action.
Whereas the code is aimed at businesses, the OFT also encourages consumers to become acquainted with the code as in order to be more empowered. Practically, this means more information about their rights and the industry best-practices they should expect when parting with hard-earned Pounds.
Some of the main topics covered by the code are:
• shop notices;
• faulty goods;
• credit notes and vouchers;
• goods on sale;
• the sale of toys;
Some of the most practical parts of the codes are as follows:
• all goods on display, whether inside a shop, in display cabinets or shop windows, should have their prices clearly displayed in Pounds Sterling
• retail policies should be communicated to consumers and be clearly displayed in the premise
• any goods sold must conform with the contract of sale and must be:
• as described
• fit for the purpose sold
• of satisfactory quality
• if goods are faulty within six months from purchase, there is a presumption they were faulty at delivery and it is for the trader to prove otherwise
• goods that become faulty within 30 days from purchase or delivery can be rejected by the consumer who can claim for a full refund of the total cost of the goods
• refunds due must be effected within 14 days
• a signed document with appropriate recorded data should be issued to consumers that hand in faulty goods for repair
• where refunds are due to consumers, a credit note or voucher should not be offered in lieu of a refund unless the consumer prefers this;
• toys should bear the CE or UKCA safety marking on them or their packaging
• information relating to sales or promotions should not mislead, deceive or take advantage of consumers
• when a deposit is taken, a receipt must be issued with terms and conditions and relevant information pertaining to it
• any guarantees should come with written terms and information on jurisdictional applicability should be provided
The full text of the code of conduct is accessible from oft.gov.gi/documents/codes-of-conduct
Anyone interested in receiving further information on the codes or any other consumer related matter can contact the OFT’s Consumer Protection Team on 20071700 or firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also follow the OFT on social media.