Businesses that make promises they cannot keep - or even prove - will be subject to new European consumer protection regulations in the biggest shake-up of consumer rights in a generation. Westminster's Department for Business is backing the new powers with teams of dedicated trading standards officers seeking out rogue traders, whether they are roofers or reflexologists.
Spiritualists, if the new regulations are approved by the UK Parliament, will have to offer numerous riders about their services if they are to avoid civil actions. The new rules will bring to an end the Fraudulent Mediums Act, a 50-year-old law introduced to replace 18th-century witchcraft legislation.
Providers of alternative therapies will also be expected to adhere to the new regulations.
The rules are designed to crack down on all kinds of rogue traders guilty of unfair selling.
Gareth Thomas, Consumer Affairs Minister, said: "Life is going to get tougher for the small minority of rogue traders who treat customers with contempt, pressuring, bullying or lying their way into making a sale."
The regulations will ban outright practices such as bogus closing-down sales, prize-draw scams, aggressive doorstep selling, offering free gifts that are not really free and displaying false accreditations.