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Trading Standards (Read 25,713 times)
hoxne
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Trading Standards
Apr 16th, 2005 at 10:56am
 
Has anyone reported a company to Trading Standards for advertising 0845/0844 as 'local rate' or 0870/0871 as 'national rate' or with any other misleading indications of price?  If so, what was the response?
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Dave
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Re: Trading Standards
Reply #1 - Apr 21st, 2005 at 2:21pm
 
Reported Micro Direct Ltd, see here.
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lompos
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Re: Trading Standards
Reply #2 - Apr 21st, 2005 at 8:37pm
 
I contacted Trading Standards about the local GP practice which changed its number to 0870 and displayed NEG's poster in the reception (national rate, etc.).  Received the following reply:

Thank you for bringing to our attention the concerns you have over the cost of a call to the St Paul's Medical Centre.

I have spoken to the surgery about the poster that indicated calls were charged at the national rate and followed this with a letter of advice which was posted on Thursday.   My advice reflects that of the Central Office of Information, namely that call charges should be made clear to avoid misleading the public.


This of course did not stop the surgery from changing its number to 0844.  Further representation to Trading Standard resulted in the following reply:

My letter of advice to the surgery quoted the COI advice. I believe that advice to be couched in terms making it as applicable to 0844 numbers as 0870 or 0845.
Islington Trading Standards is not a campaigning body and cannot get involved in policies surrounding the arrangements surgeries may make for their telephone systems. Perhaps you should raise the issue with the Department of Health as their press release of 24 February gives the impression that the new 0845 & 0844 numbers will be "guaranteed low rate".
As we have acted within our remit and advised the surgery I am afraid I am unable to offer you any further assistance on this matter.
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« Last Edit: Nov 14th, 2005 at 8:38pm by Dave »  
 
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bigjohn
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Trading Standards
Reply #3 - Sep 22nd, 2005 at 4:39pm
 
Norfolk Trading Standards have published a guidance document about  how you can describe NGN numbers etc etc.At last a Trading Standards dept gets off its backside and puts something in writing.

I suspect they have only done this to cover their own backs,as they use 0844!!!.

They also say you can remain silent about the cost of the call.Where as i believe the ASA ruled that you cannot. See this pdf document here.

http://www.iip.org.uk/FT9-1.pdf
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« Last Edit: Nov 14th, 2005 at 8:38pm by Dave »  

BJ.
 
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bbb_uk
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Re: Trading Standards
Reply #4 - Sep 22nd, 2005 at 5:13pm
 
BJ,

Where did you find that link?

Was it from Norfolk T/S site here because the URL of that link (when entered without the pdf link) displays:-
Quote:
IIP.org.uk

Insects In Potatoes

This website will be launching shortly with information on how to tackle insects in agricultural environments. Love and hugs, Joe
which appears out of context with regards to the link and NGN's, etc.
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« Last Edit: Sep 29th, 2005 at 6:30pm by Dave »  
 
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bigjohn
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Re: Trading Standards Publish Guidance About NGN.
Reply #5 - Sep 22nd, 2005 at 5:51pm
 
I was pointed to the link by a contact.

I have  since spoken to NCC Trading Standards and they confirmed that it was a leaflet they sent out to all Business,s in Norfolk.

You can mail them at trading.standards@norfolk.gov.uk
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« Last Edit: Sep 22nd, 2005 at 6:06pm by bigjohn »  

BJ.
 
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bbb_uk
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Re: Trading Standards Publish Guidance About NGN.
Reply #6 - Sep 22nd, 2005 at 6:33pm
 
ok thanks.

I'll email them and point out ASA/CAP, OfCOM guidelines and hope they change their mind on remaining silent on the cost.
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mikeinnc
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Re: Trading Standards Publish Guidance About NGN.
Reply #7 - Sep 22nd, 2005 at 6:58pm
 
I have just heard that BT have agreed to certain changes in the way they do business "on the understanding that regulation will be lighter handed in the future".

My God...could it possibly be ANY lighter!!!

What an amazing statement! Two tenths of stuff all is still stuff all.....  Angry
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bbb_uk
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Re: Trading Standards Publish Guidance About NGN.
Reply #8 - Sep 22nd, 2005 at 7:47pm
 
I've just sent them a quick email pointing out ASA/CAP and OfCOM guidelines, etc.  I shall post any reply here.
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mc661
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Re: Trading Standards Publish Guidance About NGN.
Reply #9 - Sep 22nd, 2005 at 11:07pm
 
Hmm I wonder why Norfolk got off their backsides to do somthing?
Is it beacuse of the county council using 0844's? and the fact that the county council had no less then 56 FOI's regarding the use of the 0844's?
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bbb_uk
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Re: Trading Standards Publish Guidance About NGN.
Reply #10 - Sep 23rd, 2005 at 4:23pm
 
I've had a reply back from Norfolk T/S as follows:-

Quote:
Thank you for your e-mail, and for your interest in our Fact Sheet.  I have read your e-mail carefully, and I note your comments.

I am well aware of the ongoing debate around NTS services, and of the many concerns which have been raised by consumers and businesses.  Trading Standards have direct involvement only in a small part of this debate, namely the enforcement of the law relating to misleading price indications.  I am also aware of the various consultations and guidance which have been produced, including the guidance you have referred to.

You have questioned how our guidance relates to ASA, CAP and OFCOM guidelines.

You have referred us to OFCOM guidance.  However, this guidance merely states 'Any call price information in advertisements should be accurate and not misleading.'  This is consistent with advice that no price indication need be given, and there is no suggestion that a price indication must be given.  I therefore do not accept that there is any inconsistency between our guidance and OFCOM guidance.

You have also referred to CAP/ASA guidance.  Their guidance of 10 March 2005 states that 'Marketers should not be silent on price'.  Their guidance of 4 August 2005 states more strongly that advertisers 'must state the maximum cost of calls to BT customers and indicate that call costs using non-BT phone lines may vary'.  I accept that this differs from the guidance we have published, and I will try to explain why we have given the specific guidance that a price indication is not required.

Under the Consumer Protection Act 1987, it is a criminal offence for a business to give a misleading price indication to a consumer.  This Act is enforced by local Trading Standards authorities.

Under the Price Marking Order 2004 (and some other minor pieces of related legislation), business are required to give price indications where they offer to sell certain products.  Services, including telecommunications services, are exempt from this requirement.  So there is no legal requirement for an advertiser to give any indication as to the price of a call to an '08' number.

It follows that the easiest and most certain way for a trader to avoid giving a misleading price indication, and thereby committing an offence, is for them not to give a price indication at all.  As the enforcing authority, we are in no position to deny a business the easiest legal route to compliance.  We therefore do not intend to change our advice that businesses need not give a price indication.

We recognise that a business might, as a result of our advice, decide to give no price indication at all.  That business might then be asked by the ASA to give a price indication, in so far as their advertisements fall within the scope of ASA regulation.  Our advice does not preclude them from complying with a request by the ASA, so long as their price indication is not misleading.

We are looking forward to working with OFCOM and the CAP on the consumer and business guidance which was proposed in the recent OFCOM consultation.  In this work, Trading Standards will be represented through LACORS, the Local Authorities Co-ordinators of Regulatory Services.  Until we see what changes are being made to the NTS market, we are in no position to speculate about the content of any future guidance.

Thank you again for raising your concerns with us, and I hope that I have answered your enquiry to your satisfaction.

From what I can see the reply is correct.  OfCOM don't specifically state that price of calls have to mentioned and ASA/CAP do but only have limited powers which he knows.

Can anyone think of a suitable response to this because I can't really think of one?
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Dave
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Re: Trading Standards Publish Guidance About NGN.
Reply #11 - Sep 23rd, 2005 at 4:55pm
 
Quote:
Can anyone think of a suitable response to this because I can't really think of one?

I can see the point being made; that TS are there to ensure companies are fair and don't mislead their customers, and that's what they're doing.

I think that this one's down to Ofcom to sort out.  Roll Eyes
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bbb_uk
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Re: Trading Standards Publish Guidance About NGN.
Reply #12 - Sep 23rd, 2005 at 5:21pm
 
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..I think that this one's down to Ofcom to sort out.  Roll Eyes
Well I'll probably have won the lottery before that happens!   Grin
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NonGeographicalMan
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Re: Trading Standards Publish Guidance About NGN.
Reply #13 - Sep 23rd, 2005 at 5:47pm
 
I can't see this guidance from Norfolk Trading Standards moves us on very far.

The views quoted by Leicester City Council's trading standards department appear to be far more helpful to our cause.
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Dave
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Re: Trading Standards Publish Guidance About NGN.
Reply #14 - Sep 23rd, 2005 at 6:03pm
 
Quote:
The views quoted by Leicester City Council's trading standards department appear to be far more helpful to our cause.

I wrote to Manchester TS about Micro Direct's 'national rate' description and quoted the Leicester TS link. The response I got said that Leicester TS no longer held that stance and that there was nothing they could do.

My email and Manchester TS' response is here.
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