Tony Watkin represents Local Authority in successful appeal

Tony Watkin represents Local Authority in successful appeal involving an important point of construction of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.  

At issue in this case was the question of whether the presentation of an invoice containing misleading information about a motor vehicle service which had been purchased by an undercover Trading Standards Officer (a “Test Purchase”) was a commercial practice.  Specifically whether it was directly connected with the promotion, sale or supply of a product by a trader to or from consumers, where the Trading Standards Officer was not himself a consumer and the alleged unfair commercial practice, a misleading action, was the presentation of an invoice in respect of a transaction in which no consumer was involved (the District Judge finding that a Trading Standards officer was not a consumer within the meaning of the regulations).

The case was of such importance that the Competition and Markets Authority intervened and in the unanimous judgment of the Divisional Court (Hickinbottom LJ, and Jay J) they found that the District Judge had been wrong to dismiss the charge at the conclusion of the Prosecution case and that regardless of whether the Officer was acting as a consumer (that point being argued but not determined) the presentation of the invoice was a commercial practice and was directly connected with the promotion, sale etc of a product by a trader to or from consumers.

To read the judgment, click here.