08th December 2016

Buyers beware…. Or should that be traders?

Jane Anderson, specialist solicitor at Cartwright King Solicitors considers the pros and cons of selling goods to the public.

The Chancellor; Philip Hammond in the autumn statement announced a £1000 tax break for individuals with trading and property income.

This is good news for the car booters but they should be aware of the laws concerning the sale of goods which can apply to persons who are not "professional‟ stall holders but who see themselves as hobbyists.

The General Product Safety Regulations 2005 apply to all UK suppliers of products used by consumers. Suppliers as referred to in the Regulations may be either “producers” or “distributors”. Those who sell at car boot sales merely as a hobby can still be considered as distributors and can still be caught by the regulations. Distributors do not need to be professional.

Anyone who regularly sells goods bought to resell at a car boot sale even just as a hobby once or twice a month may be considered a distributor and being classed as a distributor can mean falling foul of certain laws which are investigated and prosecuted by Trading Standards.

The General Product Safety Regulations 2005 govern the obligations of any trader or distributor of goods to the public to supply a safe product. Some products for instance, toys and electrical equipment have their own regulations. It is important that traders are equally aware of their obligations in relation to all of these regulations to avoid investigation and indeed prosecution. Failure to comply with the regulations is an offence which on conviction can result in a fine or imprisonment.

The sale of counterfeit goods is investigated and prosecuted as robustly under the Trade Marks Act 1994. Not only do fake designer clothes fall into this category but football shirts and sunglasses too. The maximum term of imprisonment for infringement of a trade mark is 10 years imprisonment.

With the growth of online auction sites and the ability to buy items in bulk from abroad it would be easy to get carried away and get more than you bargained for. The old adage "let the buyer beware‟ still holds true but traders should be on their guard too.

If you have been accused of causing an offence in relation to the sale of goods, please contact our Regulatory department on 0808 168 5550 or and we will be available for a free initial consultation.

For further information please get in touch with our dedicated team.

You can always call us on 0845 894 1622 or email on


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