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Misleading precedent

A recent case on price comparisons may have set a bad precedent, argues Victor Smith

14 June 2002

In determining whether a price indication is misleading for the purposes of s 20 of the Consumer Protection Act 1987 (CPA), it is sufficient if only a minority of consumers might reasonably have been misled by the price indication. This proposition, which encourages traders to ensure their advertisements as to the price of goods are unambiguous, has been eroded by Suffolk CC v Hillarys Blinds Ltd [2002] EWHC Admin 87. In that case the prosecution, somewhat curiously, accepted that where a price indication is alleged to involve a price comparison, there can be no offence unless the fact there is a price comparison is the only construction that can be given to the wording of the price indication. Doble v David Greig Ltd In Doble v David Greig Ltd [1972] 2 All ER 195 the defendant company displayed on their supermarket shelves bottles of Ribena which, under s 6 of the Trade Descriptions Act (TDA), were therefore offered for supply. The price on the bottle top was 5/...

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