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ABSTRACT: This exploratory study examines the early impact of the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive 2005/29/EC on enforcers in Scotland within the context of current policy developments regarding the use of civil and criminal enforcement
mechanisms within the UK. The Directive has been implemented in the UK by means of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 SI 1277 and the duty to enforce the Regulations falls primarily to local authority trading standards services. Twenty-one in-depth
interviews were conducted with a range of officers employed within the trading standards service based in eight local authorities
in Scotland on their perceptions of the new Regulations. The main findings were that officers’ views of the new Regulations
and the civil and criminal enforcement routes available to them was affected by structural, operational, and cultural issues
which varied from one authority to another. A number of officers were finding the Regulations a challenge to old ways and
there was evidence that many felt unprepared for the Regulations. A number of positive views were expressed regarding the
flexibility of the new Regulations and the advantages of the provisions relating to misleading omissions. Overall officers’
experiences of the Regulations were heavily influenced by the complaints received by their particular local authority service.
KeywordsConsumer protection UK-Consumer law-European law and fair trading-Regulation-Unfair Commercial practices directive
Journal of Consumer Policy 33(4):377-401.