Archive for May 23rd, 2008

Clairvoyant emptor…

A report on the Law

On this… the last Friday before the new The Consumer Protection Regulations come into force, I thought I’d draw your attention to the fact that anyone selling a bit of wine and a wafer or relics from Monday will have to describe them accurately – i.e. no more misleading statements and fanciful concepts. Hyperbolaters have been hunted down by the government and, from Monday, face the full majesty of the new laws.

Frances Gibb reported in The Times today that fortune tellers and astrologists will be bracketed with double glazing salesmen and will have to act fairly towards consumers. Fortune tellers et al will have to tell customers that what they offer “Is for entertainment only” and not “experimentally proven”. Faith healers, spirtualists and mediums are also caught by this legislation.

“Claims to secure good fortune, contact the dead or heal through the laying on of hands are all services that will have to carry disclaimers.” lawyers other than Harbottle & Lewis, who offered quotes to Frances Gibb in the article, said today.

Solicitors trying to trace beneficiaries under trusts or wills, funerals directors, those engaged in the detection of crime, grieving or non-grieving but greedy relatives, and personnel working for the NHS are not, of course, caught by this legislation – nor, indeed, is anyone offering wine and wafers in a non-commercial context, even if the descriptions given to the wine / wafers are not entirely accurate…. and given that I am a non-believer and a part-time restaurant reviewer…. not to my taste.”


Lawyers who are worried about this new legislation, and concerned about being bracketed with fortune tellers and mediums, may wish to consider a disclaimer and state, before ‘engaging with the client, that their advice “is for entertainment only”. That should do the trick.

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