The vast majority of UK businesses within the service sector need to be aware that they fall under a new set of regulations brought in via a European directive.
The Provision of Services Regulations 2009 came into force on 28 December 2009 and apply to most businesses providing services to other businesses and or private consumers.
Jas Singh, corporate partner at Staffordshire based Ansons Solicitors commented “The regulations require businesses to make certain information available to customers, and to deal with customer complaints promptly. They also prohibit discrimination against individual customers in the provision of services on the basis of their place of residence”.
The information which needs to be provided includes; the name of your business, its legal status, geographical address, contact details, the price of the service, if your service provision is subject to VAT, the main features of the service, your general terms and conditions, any after-sales guarantee, details of your professional liability insurance, your complaints procedure, if you work within a regulated profession, if you are included in a trade or public register and if you are subject to an authorised scheme.
All of this information should be made available either in documents which you provide, at the place where the service is provided, within a contract or via electronic means such as on a publicly available website. The legislation also states that you can provide the information by using your “own initiative”.
If you or your business breaches the regulations then business, consumer or enforcement bodies, such as the Office of Fair Trading, have the right to take action should the breach harm or have the potential to harm the consumer.
Jas concluded by advising relevant business to take the following steps:
Ansons Solicitors has produced a free checklist to help businesses get up to speed with the regulations, which can be requested by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.