Jim Meyer is a criminal lawyer who specialises in defending businesses and their owners being investigated by local authority Trading Standards Services (“TSS”) in relation to unfair commercial practices banned by the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. This includes allegations of:
- “Bait advertising”, i.e:
- Offering goods that don’t exist;
- Offering just a few items at an advertised price with no hope of meeting large demand;
- Making misleading comparisons;
- Promoting one product with the intention of selling something else (“bait and switch”);
- Falsely stating that a product will only be available for a very limited time, or that it will only be available on particular terms for a very limited time, in order to elicit an immediate decision and deprive consumers of sufficient opportunity or time to make an informed choice;
- Describing a product as free or without charge if the consumer has to pay anything other than the unavoidable cost of responding to the offer and collecting or paying for delivery of the item.
👉 You want to achieve the best possible result 👈
- Avoid any enforcement action altogether
- Avoid damaging court proceedings
- Avoid criminal conviction
- Mitigate sentence
Assembling the right legal team to advise and actively defend you will be one of the most important actions that you take.
Jim Meyer will do all that he can to ensure the best possible outcome.
Both corporate entities and private individuals can be prosecuted; directors, managers, secretaries or officers of companies (or any person purporting to act as such) can also be personally liable if they are found to have caused a company to offend by their “consent or connivance” or “neglect”. Of course, if a business is convicted it faces the prospect of reputational damage and a potentially ruinous unlimited financial penalty; individuals who are found guilty risk a “directors’ disqualification” but worse than that they can be imprisoned for up to 2 years. You also need to be aware that TSS can (and does) opt for prosecutions under mainstream criminal legislation, most notably the Fraud Act 2006, and calling upon Jim’s 27 years' of criminal litigation experience can make all the difference to the outcome:
- There are statutory defences that can be deployed;
- There are time limits that the prosecuting authority needs to observe.
The bottom line is that you need to manage the risk of TSS scrutiny by engaging expert legal advice; even if it is simply to limit the damage of an adverse finding, there are things that can be done.
Contact a specialist defence solicitor as soon as you become aware of an investigation by Trading Standards Services
Trading Standards Services has wide-ranging powers, now consolidated under schedule 5, part 1 of the Consumer Rights Act 2015, which include:
- The power to require the production of information;
- The power to require the production of documents;
- The power to purchase products (“test purchases”);
- The power to observe the carrying on a of business;
- The power of entry without warrant;
- The power of entry with a warrant;
- The right to require assistance from persons on premises;
- The power to inspect products;
- The power to test equipment;
- The power to seize and detain goods;
- The power to seize documentation required as evidence;
- The power to switch off or decommission fixed installations;
- The power to break open containers.
If you are on the receiving end of such a power, it is essential you take immediate legal advice. Jim has a detailed knowledge of the procedures TSS is required to follow and if you are facing an enforcement action or prosecution he can provide expert advice at every stage. This includes:
- Gathering evidence;
- Attending an interview under caution;
- Providing written statements;
- Representing you at Court;
- Protecting the future of your business following an investigation or prosecution by the regulator.
Whilst prosecution is generally reserved for those cases where there has been persistent and serious flouting of the law, this is not always the case. Involving Jim at an early stage will allow him to positively influence what will happen.