When is food labelling change going ahead?

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Dr John Steadman, archivist of Portsmouth History Centre based at Portsmouth Central Library     Picture:  Malcolm Wells

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Each week former trading standards officer Richard Thomson answers your questions.

Q I understand from your last column that food labelling is to be changed to reduce waste. I work with a charity that is donated out-of-date food by various supermarkets which we distribute to the organisations for the homeless and needy. Can you tell me when the change is going to be made?

JA (Internet)

A A change to the statutory food labelling requirements is currently under discussion between the government and the food manufacturing and distribution sector. Contrary to some press reports nothing has yet been agreed.

If any change is approved, it will be published by the government on its official websites and in the media.

I agree with the implication in your question, that a source of food donations to your charity could dry up.

Q I bought a sat nav from Halfords, which stopped working after four months. The display started flickering on and off, and it would just shutdown for no obvious reason.

The store manager refused me a refund, but offered a replacement. I have lost confidence in the equipment, and I really want my money back. Can Halfords insist on a replacement rather than a refund?

EL (Internet)

A All goods sold by a business trader must be described correctly; be of satisfactory quality, and fit for their purpose.

You have a legal right to choose a repair, replacement, partial or full refund, or compensation if a fault appears within six years from purchase and it’s reasonable for the goods to last that long.

Halfords were clearly trying to be helpful by agreeing a no-quibble replacement, which complies with their legal obligations.

I can understand how you feel about buying a turkey sat nav which is reduced to junk status after just four months’ use.

I spoke to the store manager for you and he confirmed that you were unhappy about his decision to replace it.

In the circumstances he has agreed to a full refund, without any deduction for wear and tear.

Just pop back to the store and he’ll make the necessary arrangements.

Q I bought a top from Marks and Spencer and paid by credit card.

I found a defect in a seam, and the store readily agreed to refund what I had paid for it.

They wouldn’t give me cash, and said they could only credit my card.

Is this right?

BP (Internet)

A Yes. As you paid by card, M&S can only credit you via your card. You’re not entitled to a cash refund.