What is being 'in trade'?

Consumers have certain rights when buying goods and services from someone who is ‘in trade’, so it is important to know when you are in trade and to meet your buyers' expectations.

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Misleading your customers is illegal

Consumers must be able to rely on the information traders provide when they are buying goods and services. Your business must not mislead consumers about price, quality, features, deliverables or any discounts – everything must be accurate and clearly described.

The Fair Trading Act makes it illegal for anyone in trade to mislead consumers, give false information, or make misrepresentations. It also applies to advertising in all forms such as online, print, TV, social media – and in all dealings with consumers.

Providing accurate and clear information

Whenever you promote or sell your goods and services you must use accurate and clear information. This is regardless of whether it is said verbally or in writing.

It's the overall impression given by pictures, advertisements, promotional material, media clips, radio or a sales pitch. It isn't only about what information you are given, it includes impressions given when important information is left out. Be accurate and reliable in what you say to customers and potential customers.

Providing reliable quotes and estimates

You must not mislead customers when giving quotes and estimates, or in your invoices. Consumers must be able to rely on a quote or estimate as these help them make a decision about whether to purchase the goods or services.

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Unfair contract terms

If you're a business that deals with consumers and you use standard form contracts, you need to make sure your terms are fair.

The Fair Trading Act aims to protect consumers against unfair terms in standard form consumer contracts. If your contract with your customer is for goods or services normally acquired for personal or domestic use then it is likely to be a consumer contract.

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Contracting out of the Fair Trading Act

As a trader, you cannot contract out of your obligations to consumers under the Fair Trading Act. However, there is an exception where you may be able to contract out of some of your obligations when dealing with other traders.

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Product safety standards

To help prevent consumers from getting injured by using unsafe products, there are safety standards in place for some products you may sell.

There are currently six product safety standards that are set by regulation under the Fair Trading Act. The standards help prevent and reduce the chance of accidents and injuries while consumers are using these products.

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Consumer information standards

To help consumers make informed decisions when buying and caring for goods, there are information standards in place requiring suppliers to disclose information.

There are currently five consumer information standards that are set by regulation under the Fair Trading Act. To help consumers make informed decisions about the goods they are buying and how to care for them, you must disclose certain information about the goods you are offering to supply.

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