Guernsey: Consumer Protection Legislation Guernsey

The contractual landscape between consumers and traders in Guernsey will soon be changing with the introduction of the consumer protection legislation. The purpose of the legislation is to introduce statutory civil rights for consumers when purchasing goods and services including those in digital format, to ensure the prohibition of unfair trading practices and to grant enforcement powers to authorised officers of the Trading Standards Services and introduce offences and penalties for breaches of the legislation.

The overarching principles behind the legislation are to provide a compatible framework to our neighbouring jurisdictions of the United Kingdom and Europe that provides consumers with legal certainty when dealing with businesses or service providers in Guernsey. It is hoped this will instill greater consumer confidence, encourage newbusinesses, regenerate growth in the Guernsey marketplace and deliver consistency andequality for consumers entering into contracts across geographical boundaries. This briefing examines the legislation and the benefits intended to be conferred on the public by its introduction and the impact it will have on the local business marketplace.

Evolution of Consumer Protection in Guernsey

The key drivers behind the requirement for consumer protection rights in Guernsey is the recognition that there is a requirement to introduce clear guidance for consumersin the form of legislation that helps to dispel consumer uncertainty when dealing with businesses or suppliers of services. The availability of a codified set of rights is viewed as a mechanism to encourage business growth, a competitive market and consumer confidence in Guernsey. Guernsey's approach is in line with that taken in recent years in the UK and more widely, in Europe where focus has been on overhauling and consolidating legislation to ensure 21st century consumer protection legislation that supports 21st century consumer transactions. The overhaul has also taken place in recognition of the requirement to provide clear information regarding their rights to consumers and the rapid expansion of distance selling via the internet and the sale of digital content, for example software or music provided via a download or content streamed to a device.

Introduction of Consumer Protection Legislation in Guernsey

The February Billet D'Etat of the States of Guernsey includes a policy letter dealing with proposals for the introduction of consumer rights legislation in Guernsey, Herm and Jethou. The legislation would be made by Ordinance under the provision of The Trading Standards (Enabling Provisions) (Guernsey) Law 2009 and would not apply to Alderney and Sark. The proposals would add to the existing consumer protection provision afforded by the regulation of weights and measures on the Island. While the existing Weights and Measures (Guernsey and Alderney) Law 1991 provides the legal basis for the Trading Standards Services weights and measures work, the Service's consumer advice and business guidance work does not have a matching statutory basis, with the advice given to consumers being based on the rules of contract law and best practice derived from relevant United Kingdom and European law. The intention of the legislation is to codify into law a consumer protection framework in an equivalent statutory framework.

Overview of the Proposed Regulatory Framework

The proposed regulatory framework would be based on the following principles:

1. introducing statutory civil rights and obligations for the consumer and the trader to contracts relating to the sale of goods and the supply of services;
2. taking account of the modern marketplace where more transactions are completed at a distance; and involve digital content such as computer software or music;
3. the requirement that traders would not act unfairly to consumers in a way that could affect consumers' decision making process and lead to consumer detriment;
4. ensuring the provision of enough information from the trader to the consumer to allow the consumer to make an informed decision, whether the transaction takes place face to face or at distance, such as by telephone or over the internet;
5. consumers having reasonable time to consider their options when making a decision, ensuring no undue pressure is exerted within that process;
6. the prohibition of unfair contract terms;
7. introducing a general safety requirement for consumer products;
8. introducing a requirement for traders to indicate the price of products offered for sale;
9. introducing enforcement powers of the Trading Standards Services; and
10. corresponding offences and penalties for infringements.

Broadly speaking it is proposed that the scope of the Guernsey consumer protection legislation would be similar to that of the consumer protection legislation in the United Kingdom and more widely Europe, subject to certain modifications and adaption where appropriate for the Guernsey economy.

Who will the new legislation impact and how will it help the consumer?

The majority of trader/consumer transactions will be regulated by the new legislation and will apply to most, if not all, of the dealings of a household with companies andindividuals providing services such as plumbing, the fitting of domestic appliances, electrical contracting, furnishings, the provision of services and so on. The legislation will also apply to a contract for a trader to supply goods and services to a consumer and will codify into Guernsey law already familiar legal terms such as, goods being "fit for purpose", "of satisfactory quality" and "corresponding to description".

Where a contract deals with the supply of services by a trader to a consumer, the consumer's statutory rights will include rights that; the service undertaken will be performed with reasonable care and skill and within a reasonable time and that any information provided by the trader, either verbally or in writing, will form part of the contract if the information is taken into account by the consumer when deciding whether or not to enter into the contract.To strike the balance between consumer rights and consumer obligations it is proposed the legislation will include a provision that will require the consumer to pay a reasonable price for the services if no price is fixed in the contract.

It is hoped the legislation will ensure a balanced relationship between consumer andtrader through the prohibition of unfair contract terms. The legislation proposes acontract term will be deemed unfair if it puts a consumer at a disadvantage by limiting the consumer's rights or disproportionately increases the consumer's obligations compared to those of the trader. Examples of unfair practices are; where the trader is seeking to exclude or limit liability where they may be in breach of a contract, where the contract entitles the trader to deliver a substantially different contract from that previously agreed, where the consumer is required to pay a disproportionately high sum in compensation, or where the consumer decides not to conclude or perform the contract, or where the contract allows the trader to change the terms of the contract without affording the consumer a corresponding right in terms of their obligations.The legislation will propose that such unfair contract terms will not be binding on the consumer.

The legislation will also include provisions prohibiting certain practices or any term of a contract which seeks to exclude or limit a trader's liability in circumstances where the contract is not performed in accordance with the consumer's statutory rights such as with reasonable care and skill.

The safety of products on the market is another issue highlighted as high on the list of consumer concerns. It is proposed the legislation will define safe consumer products and make provision for a general safety standard under the legislation. Where any product is deemed unsafe or dangerous, the law will provide the Trading Standards Services with effective powers which will include the imposition of penalties to deal with them. The general safety requirement will apply to any product put on the market for consumers including those provided in the delivery of a service but will not apply to second-hand products supplied as a product to be repaired or reconditioned prior to being used. However the responsibility for ensuring products are safe will rest with the producer of the product and where the product is not produced in Guernsey responsibility will remain with the manufacturer's agent or representative in Guernsey or other importer of goods.

For consumers, two of the most fundamental considerations when determining value for money and ultimately their satisfaction as part of a consumer contract are price andquality. The new legislation encompasses the provision of easy access to unambiguous price information for the consumer. With the exception of the price lists in licensed premises there is no legislation currently controlling the display of prices. Under the new legislation it is proposed there be a requirement to price mark or give an indication of the price of goods on offer for sale at the retail level. Furthermore, the giving of false information about the price of a product or how a price will be calculated would be a misleading action and failing to give material information would be a misleading omission, both of which would be prohibited as unfair trading under the new legislation. It is proposed that the selling price of a product is provided to consumers in writing ina form that is clear, legible, unambiguous, easily identifiable, in Sterling and inclusive of any taxes. This form of price marking will apply to shops, catalogues produced inGuernsey and online marketplaces based in Guernsey. Any breaches of the requirements would constitute an offence.

What areas are not covered by the new Guernsey Consumer Protection Legislation?

Where the rights and obligations of the consumer are regulated by sector specific legislation, some aspects of the new consumer legislation will not apply to contractsdealing with particular types of goods and services. Examples of this are the sale of real property, contracts for the construction of new buildings and contracts for financial services. These will continue to be regulated by the existing prescribed legislation, rules and associated codes of conduct.

Impact on the Business and Service Providers

The introduction of the legislation will require those traders and service providers who are in scope of the law, (including the providers of legal services), and where they are providing services to an individual/consumers, to first, update the manner in which they enter into agreements with consumers ensuring they provide the full, required information at that time and second, to review and update their terms of business to deal with new requirements under the legislation such as the consumer's cancellation rights and a statutory "cooling off period". In the case of distance and off-premises contracts it is proposed to introduce a consumer's general right to cancel without reason and without incurring liability within a normal cancellation period of 14 days from the date on which the contract was made. The right to cancel will be subject to restrictions in circumstances where, for example, the consumer has requested a trader to attend to urgent repairs or the goods were made to the consumer's own specification. Businesses and traders will need to think carefully about consumers' new rights and their approach to customer complaints and what remedies can be used and when. Additionally businesses and suppliers of services should assess all contracts, marketing materials, telephone scripts, websites and consumer notices to ensure they comply with any defined fairness criteria.

The practical steps Guernsey businesses may want to take when amending their termsof business will include; meeting the prominence requirement, i.e. the requirement fora business to make sure the consumer is clear with regard to the main subject matter of the contract which includes ensuring the price is clear, unambiguous, that it is stated in plain, intelligible language, not hidden in the small print and to ensure they outline tothe consumer the remedies available to them should they not be satisfied including the managing of any refunds or replacements, product descriptions and notices regardingany relevant "cooling off period". Businesses and traders should review the processesthey use to manage non-confirming goods including digital content and services and adjust them to fit the proposed new consumer remedies under the legislation. Staff training in relation to the new legislation and reviewing the information they provide to consumers about themselves, their products and services and ensure its accuracy will also be paramount to avoid falling foul of the new legislation.

The fact that pre-contractual information may be considered an implied term of any resulting contract also means that point of sale material and literature given to assist sales staff must be up-to-date and accurate to avoid any claims for compensation.

It will also be important for businesses and suppliers of services to review the way in which consumer complaints are handled and ensure that customer service teams are familiar with the changes before the legislation comes into force.

When things go wrong, what are the remedies available to consumers?

Depending on the circumstances different remedies will be available to the consumer and will include; the right to repeat performance, the right to reject goods, partially or
in full, the right to a repair or replacement, the right to a price reduction and the right to reclaim damages or recover money paid.


Those business or traders in breach of the legislation could be found guilty of offences associated with product safety, failure to give necessary information and failure to comply with price marking requirements. Furthermore, it is proposed legislation is created to cover offences such as obstructing an enforcement officer in the exercise of his duties and failing to comply with requirements imposed by enforcement officials.

Trading Standards Services

Under the proposals the Commerce and Employment Department will be expressly empowered to authorise officers of the Trading Standards Services to enforce the legislation once introduced. The proposed legislation would expand the statutory scope of the duties currently undertaken by the Trading Standards Service. Authorised Officers would be granted powers of entry, inspection, and seizure of documents,consumer products and other evidence. It is anticipated the introduction of codified rights for consumers will benefit the management of consumer complaints received by the Trading Standards Service because transactions would take place within a clearly defined framework where the rights and obligations of each party are clearly stated that may lead to a decrease in the time spent on each complaint. It remains to be seen what the financial cost and impact on this may be in terms of budget and resource requirement to manage the service and enforcement process properly.


While it is envisaged the introduction of a codified framework of consumer rights is expected to provide clarity for consumers in their transactions with businesses,the proposed legislation will widen the scope of the statutory duties of the Trading Standards Service. Where the new legislation leads to an increase in demand for the Service, then it will almost certainly require a redirection of resource and budget to ensure the implementation and management of the new legislation is successful and meets consumer needs, the impact of which is as yet unknown. Conversely for those businesses caught by the new legislation there is the potential for increased prices andcharges to cover off operating costs in relation to amending, updating and implementing policies within their own businesses to ensure they do not fall foul of the new legislation and to monitor and ensure compliance.


Based on the criticism of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 in the UK following its coming into force, it is imperative that for the implementation of effective consumer protection rights in Guernsey to be successful, Guernsey should take full note and consideration of the criticisms of the UK Act and ensure it produces clear, unambiguous, consumer friendly legislation.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Events from this Firm
24 Jan 2018, Conference, St Peter Port, Guernsey

In association with the Guernsey Training Agency, we are pleased to offer a unique, interactive event that will explore the role of integrity in the modern employment relationship, with a particular focus on the financial services sector.

6 Feb 2018, Conference, St Helier, Jersey

Carey Olsen, part of Jersey eGaming, the group of companies which provide services to the eGaming sector in Jersey, Channel Islands, will once again be attending ICE, London in February 2018.

20 Feb 2018, Conference, St Helier, Jersey

Carey Olsen partner Marcus Pallot is speaking at the 2nd Annual International Taxation Conference held on 20 February and organised by the Jersey International Business School.

In association with
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:
  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.
  • Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.
    If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here
    If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here

    Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

    Use of

    You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


    Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

    The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


    Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

    • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
    • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
    • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

    Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

    Information Collection and Use

    We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

    We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

    Mondaq News Alerts

    In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


    A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

    Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

    Log Files

    We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


    This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

    Surveys & Contests

    From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


    If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


    From time to time Mondaq may send you emails promoting Mondaq services including new services. You may opt out of receiving such emails by clicking below.

    *** If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here .


    This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

    Correcting/Updating Personal Information

    If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

    Notification of Changes

    If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

    How to contact Mondaq

    You can contact us with comments or queries at

    If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.

    By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions