Making your business COVID secure

Regulatory advice

Some businesses may be working differently now, so it is important to ensure that regulations are followed.

Cancellations and returns

If goods are not purchased in a shop/premises, you should

  • give instructions on how to return items, and
  • include returns labels with the order, if possible

Consumers automatically get a 14-day ‘cooling off period’ when they buy something they haven’t seen in person,  (unless it’s bespoke or made to measure). There doesn’t need to be anything wrong with the item for them to get a refund. They don't have to return the item in its original packaging, but it needs to be packaged in a way that means it doesn’t get damaged.

For further information please see our guidance document on Distance Sales.

There is further specific guidance on coronavirus from the Competition and Markets Authority

Selling online

There are certain pieces of information that you must provide to consumers when trading at a distance, such as

  • the price
  • the consumer’s right to cancel the contract
  • your business address

For more information on this please read our Selling Online guidance sheet.

Pricing

Trading Standards has seen a number of instances of rising prices which appear to be disproportionate, and potentially profiteering from the coronavirus situation. 

If the price of goods has risen, then it would be justifiable that you cover your legitimate costs/maintain margins.  If you have artificially inflated prices and are seen to be taking advantage of the coronavirus crisis then this may be an offence under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, which could lead to a fine and/or imprisonment. 

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is also looking at this area very closely.

Payments 

You do not have to accept cash as for payment of goods. You should however make it clear to the public what payment types you do accept before people decide to make a purchase. 

Food businesses

General business advice

  • Business Companion have a Business focus page Business Companion - Covid 19 that covers how to comply with both Trading Standards and Environmental Health regulations for retail, travel, hair and beauty, and food businesses at this time.

Licensing

Manufacturing of products being used to help prevent Covid-19

The Government has produced guidance to businesses on the manufacture, importation and supply of personal protective equipment, medical devices, face coverings and hand sanitisers which are being used to help prevent coronavirus (COVID-19).

In addition, the Health and Safety Executive has produced guidance in relation to the manufacture and supply of hand sanitisers and surface disinfectants.

Manufacturers and packers

If you are making or packing different products than usual, be aware of the need to ensure correct labelling, and quantity marking. There might be different densities etc which could affect volume when using re-purposed packaging.

Contact Trading Standards for more information about this, and we will be happy to assist you.

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