§ Mr. David Mitchell
asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection how many firms or sole traders have been prosecuted under the consumer protection legislation for charging a price for goods or services different from the advertised price; how many of the prosecutions have related to the addition of value added tax to the advertised price; and how many have related to failure to take account of special offers advertised by the manufacturer.
§ Mr. John Fraser
I am informed by the Director General of Fair Trading that the following successful prosecutions under the Trade Descriptions Act 1968 for false price claims in respect of goods have been notified to him by the enforcement authorities:
Number of convictions Amount of fines £ 1975 415 35,700 1976 422 34,721 1977 379 37,038
The information is not available in a form which allows the numbers of specific types of offences to be identified. Nor is there a record of the total number of prosecutions brought, including those which were unsuccessful.
Although the Act prohibits false or misleading indications of the prices of goods, there is no comparable provision about the prices of services or facilities. This is one of the matters dealt with in the Review of the Trade Descriptions Act (Cmnd. 6628), which is being considered in my Department.