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TRADE DESCRIPTIONS ACT 1968

UK Public General Acts

Version 26/05/2008

1968 CHAPTER 29

Default Geographical Extent: E+W+S+N.I.


  • Prohibition of false trade descriptions
  • Power to define terms and to require display, etc. of information
  • Misstatements other than false trade descriptions
  • Prohibition of importation of certain goods
  • Provisions as to offences
  • Defences
  • Enforcement
  • Miscellaneous and supplemental.
  • Version 26/05/2008
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  • Version 08/05/1998
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  • Version 31/10/1994
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  • Version 21/05/1991
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  • Version 02/02/1991
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  • Version 01/02/1991

Introductory Text

Trade Descriptions Act 1968

1968 CHAPTER 29

An Act to replace the Merchandise Marks Acts 1887 to 1953 by fresh provisions prohibiting misdescriptions of goods, services, accommodation and facilities provided in the course of trade; to prohibit false or misleading indications as to the price of goods; to confer power to require information on instructions relating to goods to be marked on or to accompany the goods or to be included in advertisements; to prohibit the unauthorised use of devices or emblems signifying royal awards; to enable the Parliament of Northern Ireland to make laws relating to merchandise marks; and for purposes connected with those matters.

[30th May 1968]

Annotations:

Modifications etc. (not altering text)

C1 Words of enactment omitted under authority of Statute Law Revision Act 1948 (c. 62), s. 3

C2 Act modified by S.I. 1977/1140, reg. 12(2)

C3 Act excluded (E.W.S.) by S.I. 1985/1271, reg. 11 and (N.I.) by S.R. 1978/342, reg. 9(2)

Act excluded (E.W.S.) by Weights and Measures Act 1985 (c. 72, SIF 131), s. 48(4), Sch. 11 para. 21(2)

C4 Act restricted by Energy Conservation Act 1981 (c. 17, SIF 44:3), s. 19(2)

Act restricted by S.R. 1987/407, reg. 10

Act restricted (6.11.1995) by S.R. 1995/382, reg. 9

C5 Act extended by Road Traffic Act 1988 (c. 52, SIF 107:1), s. 80(1)

C6 Act applied (1.1.1995) by S.I. 1994/3142, reg. 18(5)

Act applied (1.1.1995) by S.I. 1994/3144, reg. 9(11)(15) (as amended (30.10.2005) by S.I. 2005/2759, reg. 2(12))

Act applied (30.10.2005) by The Medicines (Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products for Human Use) Regulations 2005 (S.I. 2005/2750), reg. 10(5) (with Sch. 6)

Commencement Information

I1 Act wholly in force at 30.11.1968 see s. 43(2).


Prohibition of false trade descriptions


1 Prohibition of false trade descriptions.

(1) F1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

[F2 (2) Sections 2 to 4 shall have effect for the interpretation of expressions used in this Act ]

Annotations:

Amendments (Textual)

F1 S. 1(1) repealed (26.5.2008) by The Consumer Protection for Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (S.I. 2008/1277), reg. 30(1)(3), Sch. 2 para. 8(a), Sch. 4 Pt. 1 (with savings in reg. 28(2)(3))

F2 S. 1(2) substituted (26.5.2008) by The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (S.I. 2008/1277), reg. 30(1), Sch. 2 para. 9 (with savings in reg 28(2)(3))


2 Trade description.

(1) A trade description is an indication, direct or indirect, and by whatever means given, of any of the following matters with respect to any goods or parts of goods, that is to say—

(a) quantity, size or gauge;
(b) method of manufacture, production, processing or reconditioning;
(c) composition;
(d) fitness for purpose, strength, performance, behaviour or accuracy;
(e) any physical characteristics not included in the preceding paragraphs;
(f) testing by any person and results thereof;
(g) approval by any person or conformity with a type approved by any person;
(h) place or date of manufacture, production, processing or reconditioning;
(i) person by whom manufactured, produced, processed or reconditioned;
(j) other history, including previous ownership or use.
(2) The matters specified in subsection (1) of this section shall be taken—

(a) in relation to any animal, to include sex, breed or cross, fertility and soundness;
(b) in relation to any semen, to include the identity and characteristics of the animal from which it was taken and measure of dilution.
(3) In this section “quantity” includes length, width, height, area, volume, capacity, weight and number.

(4) Notwithstanding anything in the preceding provisions of this section, the following shall be deemed not to be trade descriptions, that is to say, any description or mark applied in pursuance of—

F3 (a). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
(b) section 2 of the M1 Agricultural Produce (Grading and Marking) Act 1928 (as amended by the M2 Agricultural Produce (Grading and Marking) Amendment Act 1931) or any corresponding enactment of the Parliament of Northern Ireland;
(c) the M3 Plant Varieties and Seeds Act 1964;
(d) the M4 Agriculture and Horticulture Act 1964 [F4 or any Community grading rules within the meaning of Part III of that Act] ;
(e) the M5 Seeds Act (Northern Ireland) 1965;
(f) the M6 Horticulture Act (Northern Ireland) 1966;
[F5 (g) The Consumer Protection Act 1987;]
[F6 (h) the Plant Varieties Act 1997;]
[F7 any statement made in respect of, or mark applied to, any material in pursuance of Part IV of the M7 Agriculture Act 1970, any name or expression to which a meaning has been assigned under section 70 of that Act when applied to any material in the circumstances specified in that section] . . . F8 any mark prescribed by a system of classification compiled under section 5 of the M8 Agriculture Act 1967 [F9 and any designation, mark or description applied in pursuance of a scheme brought into force under section 6(1) or an order made under section 25(1) of the Agriculture Act 1970]
(5) Notwithstanding anything in the preceding provisions of this section,

[F10 (a) ] where provision is made under [F11 the Food Safety Act 1990] or the [F12 Food Safety (Northern Ireland) Order 1991] [F13 or the Consumer Protection Act 1987] prohibiting the application of a description except to goods in the case of which the requirements specified in that provision are complied with, that description, when applied to such goods, shall be deemed not to be a trade description.
[F14 (b) where by virtue of any provision made under Part V of the Medicines Act 1968 (or made under any provisions of the said Part V as applied by an order made under section 104 or section 105 of that Act) anything which, in accordance with this Act, constitutes the application of a trade description to goods is subject to any requirements or restrictions imposed by that provision, any particular description specified in that provision, when applied to goods in circumstances to which those requirements or restrictions are applicable, shall be deemed not to be a trade description.]
[F15 (c) where any description of a veterinary medicinal product is required to be applied to the product by an authorisation for the product granted under the Veterinary Medicines Regulations 2006, that description, when applied to the product, shall be deemed not to be a trade description.]
Annotations:

Amendments (Textual)

F3 S. 2(4)(a) repealed by European Communities Act 1972 (c. 68), s. 4, Sch. 3 Pt. III

F4 Words inserted by European Communities Act 1972 (c. 68), s. 4, Sch. 4 para. 4(2)

F5 S. 2(4)(g) inserted by Consumer Safety Act 1978 (c. 38), s. 7(8) and as substituted by Consumer Protection Act 1987 (c. 43, SIF 109:1), s. 48(1), Sch. 4 para. 2(1)(a)

F6 S. 2(4)(h) inserted (8.5.1998) by 1997 c. 66, s. 51(4); S.I. 1998/1028, art.2.

F7 Words substituted (1.1.1974) by Agriculture Act 1970 (c. 40), s. 87(3)

F8 Word repealed by Agriculture Act 1970 (c. 40), s. 6(4), Sch. 5 Pt. V

F9 Words added by Agriculture Act 1970 (c. 40), s, 6(4)

F10 Word "(a)" inserted by Medicines Act 1968 (c. 67, SIF 84), s. 135(1), Sch. 5 para. 16

F11 Words “the Food Safety Act 1990” substituted (E.W.S.) by Food Safety Act 1990 (c. 16, SIF 53:1, 2), s. 59(1), Sch. 3 para. 6

F12 Words in s. 2(5)(a) substituted (N.I.) (21.5.1991) by S.I. 1991/762 (N.I. 7), art. 51(1), Sch. 2 para.8; S.R. 1991/175, art. 2(1)

F13 Words substituted by Consumer Protection Act 1987 (c. 43, SIF 109:1), s. 48(1), Sch. 4 para. 2(1)(b) for words inserted by Consumer Safety Act 1978 (c.38, SIF 109:1), s. 7(8)

F14 Para. (b) inserted by Medicines Act 1968 (c. 67, SIF 84), s. 135(1), Sch. 5 para. 16

F15 S. 2(5)(c) added (1.10.2006) by The Veterinary Medicines Regulations 2006 (S.I. 2006/2407), reg. 44(3), Sch. 9 Pt. 1 para. 2 (with reg. 3)

Modifications etc. (not altering text)

C7 S. 2(5) amended (14.2.1989) by Medicines Act 1968 (c. 67), s. 135(1), Sch. 5 para. 16

Marginal Citations

M1 1928 c. 19.

M2 1931 c. 40.

M3 1964 c. 14.

M4 1964 c. 28.

M5 1965 c. 22 (N.I.)

M6 1966 c. 15 (N.I.)

M7 1970 c. 40

M8 1967 c. 22.


3 False trade description.

(1) A false trade description is a trade description which is false to a material degree.

(2) A trade description which, though not false, is misleading, that is to say, likely to be taken for such an indication of any of the matters specified in section 2 of this Act as would be false to a material degree, shall be deemed to be a false trade description.

(3) Anything which, though not a trade description, is likely to be taken for an indication of any of those matters and, as such an indication, would be false to a material degree, shall be deemed to be a false trade description.

(4) A false indication, or anything likely to be taken as an indication which would be false, that any goods comply with a standard specified or recognised by any person or implied by the approval of any person shall be deemed to be a false trade description, if there is no such person or no standard so specified, recognised or implied.

Annotations:

Modifications etc. (not altering text)

C8 S. 3(1) amended (1.1.1975) by Hallmarking Act 1973 (c. 43), s. 1(4)


4 Applying a trade description to goods.

(1) A person applies a trade description to goods if he—

(a) affixes or annexes it to or in any manner marks it on or incorporates it with—
(i) the goods themselves, or
(ii) anything in, on or with which the goods are supplied; or
(b) places the goods in, on or with anything which the trade description has been affixed or annexed to, marked on or incorporated with, or places any such thing with the goods; or
(c) uses the trade description in any manner likely to be taken as referring to the goods.
(2) An oral statement may amount to the use of a trade description.

(3) Where goods are supplied in pursuance of a request in which a trade description is used and the circumstances are such as to make it reasonable to infer that the goods are supplied as goods corresponding to that trade description, the person supplying the goods shall be deemed to have applied that trade description to the goods.

Annotations:

Modifications etc. (not altering text)

C9 S. 4 extended (1.1.1975) by Hallmarking Act 1973 (c. 43), s. 1(7) (b)


5 Trade descriptions used in advertisements.

F16 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Annotations:

Amendments (Textual)

F16 S. 5 repealed (26.5.2008) by The Consumer Protection for Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (S.I. 2008/1277), reg. 30(1)(3), Sch. 2 para. 8(b), Sch. 4 Pt. 1 (with savings in reg. 28(2)(3), Sch. 3 para. 1)


6 Offer to supply.

F17 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Annotations:

Amendments (Textual)

F17 S. 6 repealed (26.5.2008) by The Consumer Protection for Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (S.I. 2008/1277), reg. 30(1)(3), Sch. 2 para. 8(c), Sch. 4 Pt. 1 (with savings in reg. 28(2)(3))


Power to define terms and to require display, etc. of information


7 Definition orders.

F18 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Annotations:

Amendments (Textual)

F18 Ss. 7-10 repealed (26.5.2008) by The Consumer Protection for Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (S.I. 2008/1277), reg. 30(1)(3), Sch. 2 para. 8(d), Sch. 4 Pt. 1 (with savings in reg. 28(2)(3))


8 Marking orders.

F19 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Annotations:

Amendments (Textual)

F19 Ss. 7-10 repealed (26.5.2008) by The Consumer Protection for Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (S.I. 2008/1277), reg. 30(1)(3), Sch. 2 para. 8(d), Sch. 4 Pt. 1 (with savings in reg. 28(2)(3))


9 Information etc. to be given in advertisements.

F20 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Annotations:

Amendments (Textual)

F20 Ss. 7-10 repealed (26.5.2008) by The Consumer Protection for Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (S.I. 2008/1277), reg. 30(1)(3), Sch. 2 para. 8(d), Sch. 4 Pt. 1 (with savings in reg. 28(2)(3))


10 Provisions supplementary to sections 8 and 9.

F21 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Annotations:

Amendments (Textual)

F21 Ss. 7-10 repealed (26.5.2008) by The Consumer Protection for Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (S.I. 2008/1277), reg. 30(1)(3), Sch. 2 para. 8(d), Sch. 4 Pt. 1 (with savings in reg. 28(2)(3))


Misstatements other than false trade descriptions


11 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . F22

Annotations:

Amendments (Textual)

F22 S. 11 repealed by Consumer Protection Act 1987 (c. 43, SIF 109:1), s. 48(3), Sch. 5