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Consumer Scotland Act 2020

Section 24 – Meaning of “consumer”

58.For the purposes of this legislation, a consumer is an individual, or a business no larger than a small business, that purchases, uses or receives goods or services in Scotland, where those goods or services are supplied in the course of a business.

59.Individuals are covered by this definition only where they are not purchasing, using or receiving the goods or services wholly or mainly in the course of a business carried on by the individual. This means that where an individual runs or works for a large business, the act of that person purchasing something for that large business is not swept into the definition of a consumer. However, subsection (1)(b) clarifies that individuals who are operating as sole traders can fall within the concept of small businesses.

60.In every case, a “consumer” is defined by reference to purchasing, using or receiving goods or services. It is therefore only where a small business is in essence the purchaser in a transaction that they are a “consumer”; not when they are acting as the seller or provider of goods or services. However, consumers are covered by the definition where they receive or are using goods or services in Scotland from a business regardless of whether or not those goods or services are paid for. The provision of services would include, for example, a disposal or recycling service.

61.Consumer is also defined to include potential consumers. This means, for example, that Consumer Scotland could investigate practices which deter would-be consumers from pursuing a transaction. A mail recipient is also included in the definition of a person who uses services.

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Text created by the Scottish Government to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Acts of the Scottish Parliament except those which result from Budget Bills.


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