Fortune-tellers targetted in new UK Consumer Protection Regulations

This is fantastic news and a long time coming. Those who are good at their profession have nothing to fear, this really is good news. There are many hundreds of websites and individuals claiming to cure every misfortune under the sun and I feel they will maybe have to look at a new career or train to be more proficient.

I come across so many people every year who have been ripped off by ruthless charlatans who hide behind the most professional looking websites and their credentials look very impressive but they actually cause more harm than good and often leave an already vulnerable person ten times worse.

Whilst this law is not directly aimed at our profession I still feel this is great news for those who are genuine and honest Feng Shui Practitioners. Within the last 24 hours I have received 17 emails from Practitioners already complaining about the new law and how they feel as one put it a load of B******* I have also received many from Practitioners saying how they also feel it is good news.

Michael Hanna 27th May 2008

The below article was taken from the Times-On-Line website on this link

http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/law/public_law/article3987725.ece

Fortune-tellers targeted in new Consumer Protection RegulationsThe below article was taken from the Times-On-Line website on this linkThe fortune-tellers, at least, must have seen it coming. The biggest overhaul of consumer laws for 40 years takes effect on Monday, tightening controls on everything from door-to-door salesmen to children’s advertising. The below article was taken from the Times-On-Line website on this linkFortune-tellers and astrologists will be bracketed with double-glazing salesman under the new Consumer Protection Regulations. The changes, which implement an EU directive on unfair commercial practices, require businesses for the first time to act fairly towards consumers and will outlaw disreputable trading activities.

Fortune-tellers will have to tell customers that what they offer is ‘for entertainment only’ and not ‘experimentally proven’. This means that a fortune-teller who sets up a tent at a funfair will have to put up a disclaimer on a board outside.

Similar disclaimers will need to be posted on the websites of faith healers, spiritualists or mediums where appropriate, as well as on invoices and at the top of any printed terms and conditions.

Andy Millmore, a partner at the law firm Harbottle & Lewis in London, said: ‘What is significant is the sweeping nature of the regulations. They will effectively criminalise actions that might in the past have escaped legal censure, even if they may perhaps have been covered by industry voluntary codes.

‘Personalised services may also come under scrutiny. A tarot pack reader, for instance, cannot just pick one of several templates – it would have to be a proper reading designed for that person.’

Claims to secure good fortune, contact the dead or heal through the laying-on of hands are all services that will also have to carry disclaimers, other lawyers say. ‘You could argue that this is no different from promises given by the Church of Eternal Life, which people pay for, in the sense that they feel obliged to give to the collection,’ one said. ‘It’s no more proven.’

Mr Millmore said that the changes created a lower test for prosecution. ‘Before, a prosecution had to show that there was a false or misleading trade description. Now the test is, is it an unfair commercial trade practice? So we are likely to see more prosecutions,’ he said.

The new test would also take account of the context of the sale, he said. If the target were an elderly or vulnerable person, the courts would take a harsher view. ‘If my aged grandmother lets in a double-glazing seller, and he presses her to make a sale, that would probably constitute an ‘aggressive practice’ and be criminalised.’

The rules state that anyone offering a service must not engage in unfair commercial practice, misleading statement or omission or aggressive sales practice. This would criminalise practices such as ‘closing down’ sales that aren’t, limited time offers that then last longer and false testimonials left on websites.

Those who break the new laws, which will be enforced by the Office of Fair Trading or trading standards officers, will face fines of up to £5,000 if their case is heard in a magistrates’ courts or a fine and up to two years in jail if the case is severe enough to be heard in the Crown Court.

The new regulations also include a blacklist of 31 activities, which include claiming falsely to have signed up to an approved code of conduct; advertising a product at a cheap price, knowing there is insufficient stock to meet demand, so-called bait advertising; making customers think that they cannot leave without signing; and suggesting in children’s advertising that not buying a product would leave a child disadvantaged.

The Spiritualist Workers’ Association attacked the changes, saying on its website: ‘We do not believe we are conducting a scientific experiment. To have to stand up and say so is a denial of our beliefs. It is also sending out a message that we do not believe what we are saying and doing.’

Lyn Guest de Swarte, a clairvoyant, said: ‘It’s like trying to regulate God.’ Mr Millmore’s view is that fortune-tellers will not be the main target. ‘The double-glazing sellers who go for elderly ladies – it’s in those areas that people would expect the new laws to bite,’ he said. On the cards Ready-made consumer protection disclaimers for psychics, tarot card readers, astrologers and fortune-tellers Astrologers ‘Beware a tall, dark stranger claiming to predict the future’ Tarot card readers ‘Living your life in accordance with our predictions could damage your health’ Fortune tellers ‘Customers crossing my palm with silver do so at their own risk’ Mediums ‘Is there anybody out there? Maybe . . . or maybe not’ Psychic healers ‘Close your eyes and breathe deeply – but don’t part with your money just yet’

On the cards
Ready-made consumer protection disclaimers for psychics, tarot card readers, astrologers and fortune-tellers

Astrologers
‘ Beware a tall, dark stranger claiming to predict the future’

Tarot card readers
‘Living your life in accordance with our predictions could damage your health’

Fortune tellers ‘Customers crossing my palm with silver do so at their own risk’

Mediums
‘Is there anybody out there? Maybe . . . or maybe not’

Psychic healers
‘Close your eyes and breathe deeply – but don’t part with your money just yet’

 

 

One Response to ‘Fortune-tellers targetted in new UK Consumer Protection Regulations’

 

1. Andrea Says:

May 28th, 2008 at 12:29 am

I thought you would like to hear this news Michael, i agree, it will be a good thing and i know how you feel about the way feng shui has become commercialised in a bad way, I have followed youre website and newsletters for many many years and love it but please do the monthly newsletter again soon, I miss them so much.

Andrea (Cyprus)

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