Safety Of Goods
It is a criminal offence for manufacturers to supply unsafe goods, and you may be liable for any harm your products cause.
Manufacturers have a strict liability for death, injury, loss or damage caused by unsafe products. As well as the criminal offence you can also be sued by consumers for supplying unsafe goods and producers should ensure that they are covered by product liability insurance.
The law states that all new and second hand products used by consumers must pass the requirements of the General Product Safety Regulations 2005. These regulations maintain the general duty on producers to place on the market only products that are safe in normal and foreseeable use. Certain goods may also have specific legislation covering their safety, for example toys and cosmetic products
The General Product Safety Regulations 2005 transpose Directive 2001/95/EC on general product safety into UK law: producers may also have to provide information and warnings as to the risks their products posed where those risks were not obvious and, and may also need to provide instructions adequate to consumers’ needs as to the safe operation/use of the product.
Producers and distributors have a legal duty to notify Trading Standards when they become aware they have placed on the market, or distributed, an unsafe product.
Toys are defined in law as any product or material designed or clearly intended for the use of children under the age of 14.
All toys supplied in the UK must meet the requirements of the toys safety regulations and bear the CE marking along with the name and address of the manufacturer.
You can download a guide to the Toys (Safety) Regulations 1995
In some circumstances you may be able to self certify the toy you are producing, for example if you manufacture in accordance with the regulations.
However where specific safety standards do not cover all the aspects relating to the toy you manufacture, it may be necessary to submit a sample for testing by an approved body.
There are many safety controls governing the sale and manufacture of products which come into direct contact with the skin i.e., creams, soaps, lipi balms and bathbombs. If you produce cosmetics it is important that you should seek advice from Trading Standards before you begin selling your products.
Manufacturers of cosmetic products are also required to notify the European Commission of every product they produce using the Cosmetic Product Notification portal.
You will also be required to carry out a safety assessment of your product.
Safety Assessment (Opens in a new window or downloads a file)
More information is available on
Product Safety for Manufacturers (Opens in a new window or downloads a file)
Many items intended for children are also required to conform to specific safety regulations. If you are producing items for children you must take into account risk factors including choking risks and flammability .( for example cords and drawstrings on children’s clothing). You should check with Trading Standards before placing a products on the market.
Product Safety - Charities and Voluntary Organisations
Charities and Voluntary organisations, who sell goods on a regular basis, are NOTexempt from Product Safety legislation and the general safety requirement. Organisations must ensure that the products they sell are safe, and should hold records to show how they ensure that goods are safe, for example the PAT testing (portable appliance testing) of electrical goods.
Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading regulations 2008
This legislation prohibits information that misleads or is likely to mislead consumers in relation to their consumer rights by acts or omissions by the trader. This legislation also makes it an offence to display signage such as “No refunds”. The regulations also protect consumers from aggressive marketing and making inaccurate claims about a product or a service.
Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation additional charges) Regulations 2013
A requirement that Traders must give or make available to consumers certain information before they enter into a contract for goods, services or digital content with a business. This includes information including your identity (Trading name) your geographical address and telephone number as well as the total price for the goods or services including all taxes. If the price is not known you must give an explanation of how the price will be calculated.
If you sell goods made out of gold, silver, platinum and palladium they must be Hallmarked and you must also prominently display prescribed Hallmarking signage giving an explanation of the types of marks that are allowed on UK Hallmarked jewellery.
Weights and Measures
There are certain requirements on weighing equipment for legal use when goods are bought, sold or produced. Weighing equipment that determines the final quantity of goods delivered to customers must be approved as fit for use for trade. When considering using any weighing equipment for legal use it is recommended that the assistance of the Trading Standards Service be sought.
Trademarks & Counterfeits
Before selling recorded or branded items such as jewelry, DVDs, clothing, purses and handbags etc. satisfy yourself that they are not counterfeit. If the product you are selling bears the name or logo of a company, but it was not made or endorsed by that company, it will be an infringement to sell it. Heavy penalties can be imposed on anyone who breaches copyright and trademark laws.
Textiles and fabrics
Goods made out of fabric should be labelled giving the fabric content of the item. (e.g., 100% wool). There are some exceptions for certain types of goods and we would recommend checking labelling requirements with Trading Standards before you place your goods on the market.
Footwear must be labelled with an indication of the main material from which the upper, lining and sock, and outer sole are made in the form of either pictograms (symbols) or words. The label should be attached to at least one item of footwear per pair and it may also appear on the packaging.
If you sell food you have a responsibility to ensure that food is kept safe and free from contamination. To sell foodstuffs, the law requires you to register as a food business with the Comhairle’s Environmental Health Service; registration is free of charge. There are regulations which govern that food must be safe and must be presented (labelled, advertised etc) in such a way so as not to be misleading to the consumer. There are also requirements under the Food Information (Scotland) Regulations 2014 which sets out how consumers should be provided with food information (allergens and food labelling) to allow them to make informed choices and to make safe use of food. The Comhairle’s Trading Standards service will be able to advice on weights and measures requirements.
There is a general misconception among the public that a trader must provide a receipt for purchases. This is a convention - even good practice - but not a general legal requirement (although tax law may require receipts to be produced under certain circumstances).
The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 have extended cancellation rights for consumers to fourteen days and now require businesses to provide consumers with specific contractual information in writing.
The Regulations apply to a wide range of business activities, including online sales, mail order, telephone sales and agreements made in a consumer’s home. They cover sales of goods and digital content and the supply of services such as home improvements, gardening and trades like plumbing, electrical, joinery, painting, etc.
The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 (132.1kB) (Opens in a new window or downloads a file)gives further guidance on the Regulations.
The Companies Act 2006
Requires that consumers should know who they are dealing with and who to contact if they have an issue with their purchase.
The Business names requirement of this legislation applies were you do not trade under your own name.
You must clearly display your business name and address to which legal documents can be sent.
These requirements also apply to receipts, invoices orders and correspondence used in the course of your business.
Pricing of Goods
Where goods are offered for sale they must have their price clearly legible, unambiguous, easily identifiable and be inclusive of VAT. Prices can be shown:
- On goods themselves, on a ticket or notice near to the goods OR grouped together with other prices on a list or catalogue(s) in close proximity to the goods. If counter catalogues are used, there should be sufficient copies for consumers to refer to.
- Pricing information must be available - that is, clearly visible to consumers without them having to ask for assistance in order to see it.
- A Unit price must be given where goods are sold loose from bulk. However products prepacked in a constant quantity that are sold from a market stall do not require a unit price.
- If the price is not known at the time, (i.e. you are making the goods to order) you must give an explanation of how the price will be calculated.
Consumer Rights Act 2015
Requires that when you sell something it should be:
- Of satisfactory quality,
- As described and
- Fit for its purpose, and this includes any purpose made known to you the buyer.
If you sell items that do not comply with the above, the consumer can return the goods within the first 30 days and claim a refund. If the consumer has had the goods for more than 30 days they can require the seller to repair or replace the goods.
If a repair or replacements are not appropriate in the circumstances then a consumer can request a full or part refund and or compensation for their losses. Within the first 6 months the law assumes that the fault was present at the time of purchase unless the trader can prove otherwise. After 6 months the consumer has to prove the fault was there at the time of purchase. However relevant circumstances are taken into account, for example, a consumer who buys second hand goods cannot expect them to be as good as new products.
Trading Standards are available for help and guidance, We recommend that you contact the service at the earliest opportunity, and certainly before you place any manufactured goods onto the market.
Contacts : Advice and Further Information
(Phone) 01851 822694