Getting You Prepared for 2018 and beyond - Good to Great
Essential guidelines for micro, small and medium-sized businesses
In today’s business environment consumers are much more aware of their rights and the steps they can take to ensure the goods and services they pay for are up to the expected standards. If you look at case studies regarding consumer rights you will see that there are more and more cases taken against traders and businesses that sell to the end user and that is concerning for the small trader who has a small margin anyway on the service or items they sell.
With more and more consumers not purchasing goods online, it is evident that some of those goods are outside the jurisdiction of Ireland but possibly inside the European Union. If this is the case then the consumer is protected and can take a case against the trader if the goods purchased are faulty.
What can go wrong?
A number of areas can bring you the business owner to the attention of the regulator such as,
• Price not listed
• Price not including vat
• Returns policy not outlined
• Your contact details are not visible
• Customer badmouths you when things go wrong
How can you the business owner protect yourself?
The first thing you need to do is ensure your customers are informed of their rights if anything goes wrong with the goods or services provided by you. The consumer rights directive states that you must clearly display the main characteristic of the goods or services you provide such as a price tag on the goods or services provided, what the memory is on the computer you purchase and so on. The consumer has to know what they are purchasing from you and will have no doubt when they get home it does exactly what it states.
Next, you must display for the consumer is the name of your business, contact phone number, email address and address of your business. This may seem like common sense but it is not always the case when you go onto a website, or pick up a leaflet and even when you get a receipt of purchase.
Next, you must display the total price of the goods or services, exactly what it states on the price tag and no hidden costs, such as delivery, vat etc. This may again seem like common sense but it is not always the case when we go shopping and see a so-called bargain to find at the counter or go to the shopping cart online it is much more than the listed price. The key messages here are no surprises.
Next, you must state the delivery cost or what it would cost to carry out the work such as plumbing, electrical work etc. including materials.
Finally, what is the consumer’s legal guarantee, not just the warranty? You might say they are two of the same, but that is not the case as a legal guarantee is what the European Union and all member states have in place for goods and services. A warranty is what the trader or manufacturer puts in place in addition to the legal guarantee. The trader or business is obliged by law to state what the consumer's guarantee is and in addition to that what the warranty is. In the majority of cases, the consumer is only told about the warranty.
There are other areas included in the updated consumer law, but if you at least make a start on the key areas outlined in this article you will be well on your way to ensuring compliance with consumer law.
Are there any courses or advice available for micro, small or medium sized businesses?
In 2017 a European will project was launched to provide training and advice to businesses across all 28 members stated in Europe and the content was compiled by a consortium of organisations in association with the European Commission and the European Union to ensure all training across the union is consistent and relevant.
The project is called consumer law ready, which is a project funded by the European Parliament and the European Commission, managed in cooperation with the European Commission. BEUC (the European Consumer Organisation), in a consortium with Eurochambres (The Chamber of commerce in the City of Brussels, Belgium) and UEAPME (the European Association of Craft, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises), is running this training project.Their respective members at a national level are also deeply involved to maximise the outreach to the business audience.for more information visit Consumer Law Ready
Where can I go to get training?
Each country has a national trainer who manages the project and reporting the national trainer are local trainers who are approved to deliver the training by the consumer law ready team who manage the project across Europe. To register for a local course you can go onto the consumer law ready website and register as an SME and see who is delivering training in your area.
2upskill to deliver the consumer law ready training in Ireland and if you want more information do visit our website or alternatively go to the Consumer Law Ready website
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