My brother has an issue with an ecommerce company who do not disclose company information on their website. He has reported this failure to local trading standards who have offered no help. Does any official body enforce the laws on this matter?
Thank you, Gerry
Alasdair Taylor's Answer
In theory, a range of different public bodies are responsible for the enforcement of website information disclosure rules. For example, local trading standards offices are primarily responsible for enforcement of the disclosure requirements in the Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) Regulations 2002 and the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000. See:
In practice, however, no-one enforces these laws in the UK on a systematic basis. Trading standards have limited resources and will not usually pursue what they perceive to be trivial matters. If you’ve suffered loss as a result of the breach of these laws, then you may be able to bring a civil action for breach of statutory duty. However, it’s not easy to imagine any likely set of circumstances where that would be practical.
There is of course a great many laws that are rarely or never enforced. My own view is that the creation of these kinds of unenforced and in practice non-enforceable laws brings the legal system into disrepute.
Note that authorities may be more active outside the UK. See, for example, this recent case from the ECJ.