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What Labels Mean

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 25 Apr 2016 | comments*Discuss
 
Consumer Rights Labelling Appliances

Virtually everything you buy is labelled, from food to clothes to appliances. The labels can cover many things, from country of origin to safety warnings, ingredients, or even energy efficiency. The whole aim is to make you informed about the goods you're buying so you can make a proper, educated, safe decision.

Appliance Labelling

The European Community Energy Label is the one to look for on appliances like dishwashers and washing machines (if you're buying online or by mail order, the retailer must display the label information in a way you can see it). The energy ratings run from A to G (A being the best) Finding a European Ecolabel, is an indication that the item has been extensively tested to meet a number of environmental criteria - a good green buy in this very aware day and age.

If there's no label, you should ask the retailer if you can see one; legally, he has to give you that information. If you run into a problem, tell Trading Standards.

Clothing and Footwear

Perhaps surprisingly, clothing doesn't have to show its country of origin. Nor is it necessary to have labels giving washing instructions. What labels on items sold in the E.U. must show is fibre content, which you'll see not only on clothes and bedding, but on all products which are at least 80% made of textiles; that can cover anything from furniture to floor coverings. The label must show the percentage of different materials used, such as 100% cotton.

Footwear must also be labelled. The manufacturer has to list the materials that make up at least 80% of the upper and the outer sole (if there's no single item, they must show the main two).

Food Labels

There are stringent E.U. rules for food labelling. Among other things, the manufacturer understandably has to show a list of ingredients, tell you how to store the item, and give the sell-by date.

With a number of items, such as burgers, bread and chocolate, there are very specific rules regarding the food. If something contains genetically modified organisms, called GMOs (or ingredients that contain them), the label must show that.

European Marketing Standards, some of which have come under fire around the E.U., contain strict definitions about what are fresh vegetables and fruits, along with a number of other foods. One of the most contentious issues covers "food of designated geographic description or origin," which is why you'll see "Somerset Brie" in the supermarket, for example.

Within the U.K., a manufacturer doesn't have to show nutritional information on the label; it's at their discretion (the exception is if they make a specific nutritional claim).

Homeopathic and Medicine Labels

There's now a National Rules Scheme for all homeopathic medicines. This means the medicines can now say what things they treat.

When you buy an over the counter medicine, it should tell you what it's for ("chesty coughs," for example), as well as include a leaflet advising on usage, dosage, and what ages should use it. Prescription medicines also have to show dosages on the label, and the patient information leaflet with it should warn of all known side-effects.

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anu - Your Question:
I bought an ASUS laptop in 2/9/2014, paid £349.99 + £35 to set up. It was working fine, until a small line appeared in the screen, which stretched across the screen. I went to PC to see if they can help.There was a hardware problem and it needed a new screen which will cost me £150 at least or more. They suggested I ring ASUS as it was faulty hardware and not fit for purpose. I rang ASUS but the said they cannot do much and that I had to send the computer to them and would charge me £45 just to deliver the laptop to them. Of course the additional cost to fix the problem. Can someone advice me on what to do next?ThanksAnu

Our Response:
At this stage you have to prove that the item was faulty at the time of purchase. You might need an expert to help you prove this. As you've now had the item for 20 months you may have to pay for delivery of the item to get it repaired. Take a look at our article on Faulty Goods for more advice.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 26-Apr-16 @ 12:44 PM
I bought an ASUS laptop in 2/9/2014, paid £349.99 + £35 to set up. It was working fine, until a small line appeared in the screen, which stretched across the screen. I went to PC to see if they can help.There was a hardware problem and it needed a new screen which will cost me £150 at least or more. They suggested I ring ASUS as it was faulty hardware and not fit for purpose. I rang ASUS but the said they cannot do much and that I had to send the computer to them and would charge me £45 just to deliver the laptop to them. Of course the additional cost to fix the problem. Can someone advice me on what to do next? Thanks Anu
anu - 25-Apr-16 @ 1:22 PM
I purchased a Samsung TV wireless Lan Adapter 20 months ago from Argos. It cost £40. It has worked fine but it suddenly stopped working. I assume it comes with only 12 months guarantee but I would expect such a simple item to last much longer, like any computer wireless adapter. Do you think I have any consumer right to request a repair or replacement. Thanks
Nesbitt - 6-Aug-14 @ 8:55 PM
Hi there, My husband purchase a skin care product for me for christmas present, and the dates for the products are exipred, as well as the instructions for uses are very misleading.This product cost almost £100.00, One of the product was a mud mask which I applied to my face and started having rashes, and that's what prompted me to check the expiry date.This product was bought from a very reputable company. Would you be kind enough to offer any assistance and guidance as to my rights as a consumer. Many thanks for your help
rosemarie - 10-Jan-12 @ 2:14 PM
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