Basic Business Advice
All businesses selling to consumers need to be aware of the following basic requirements. If you need advice relating to specific products, please click on the appropriate section in the menu on the left.
Your Business Name
It may seem obvious, but you need to make sure that customers are aware of the ownership of your business and of the address at which documents can be served. This is especially important if you trade under a name that is different to your ‘legal’ name.
For example, I am a sole trader but I trade as Vital Product Solutions – I must make sure that my own name appears with my business address.
The business legal name and address must be displayed in a prominent position so that it can be read easily in all the places where you carry out your business and where you deal with customers or suppliers. The business name and address must also be given on all;
- · Business letters
- · Written orders for the supply of goods or services
- · Invoices and receipts, and
- · Written demands for payment of business debts.
The business legal name will be either;
- · The company name if you are a company registered with Companies House.
- · The name of each partner if you are a partnership
- · Your name if you are a sole trader.
If you are a company you will need to give additional information as well; details are available from www.companieshouse.gov.uk
If you trade under your own name only (i.e. your surname with or without your first name or initials and you don’t have another trading name that you use), then these requirements don’t apply to you.
If the business is a partnership and has more than 20 partners, you don’t need to list all the partners names on your business documents. You can state that a full list of partners can be inspected at the business address.
You might find forther information through Trading Standards: https://www.gov.uk/find-local-trading-standards-office
Pricing your products
For comprehensive advice on pricing your products, we would recommend that you read the appropriate Code Of Practice.
The misleading prices code of practice is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-business-innovation-skills
Please note that there are also specific requirements relating to method of payment and food and drink on premises.
Describing your Products
These requirements cover descriptions of your products wherever the descriptions are made, for example, in advertising, on a website, in a catalogue.
If you’re making environmentally friendly claims, you should read the practical guidance from DEFRA at https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-environment-food-rural-affairs
If you are making health claims relating to your product you are likely to need specialist advice, especially if your product is a food or a cosmetic. Whilst such claims are trade descriptions, they might also bring you within the scope of medicines or extra food labelling requirements. Please see the navigation links on the left for more product specific information.
Please note: The information given is based on interpretation of current applicable legislation. Please note that only the courts can interpret statutory legislation with any authority.