Session 2013 - 14
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627

 

SUPPLEMENT TO THE VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS

 
 

Tuesday 13 May 2014

 

Report Stage Proceedings

 

Consumer Rights Bill, As Amended


 

New Clauses and new Schedules relating to public services, guidance or

 

access to data

 

Independent advocacy: report

 

Stella Creasy

 

Stephen Doughty

 

Withdrawn  NC1

 

To move the following Clause:—

 

‘(1)    

Within three months of Royal Assent of this Act the Secretary of State must

 

publish a report detailing how—

 

(a)    

better outcomes for consumers of public services; and

 

(b)    

more efficient decision-making processes,

 

    

will be ensured.

 

(2)    

A report under subsection (1) will consider—

 

(a)    

how each public service provider will ensure a formalised approach to

 

ensuring independent advocacy is available for consumers at an early

 

stage in the decision-making process for the provision of public services;

 

(b)    

the nature of an independent advocate to participate in this process, and

 

the definition of independence, including how this could be supported by

 

the conduct of any service provider;

 

(c)    

the effect of a breach in a consumer’s statutory rights as set out by this

 

Act when a direct commissioning contract is in place;

 

(d)    

what formal status any independent advice provided will have in relation

 

to decision-making, in particular, in instances where a public service

 

continues to act contrary to such information and formal legal redress is

 

sought;

 

(e)    

the role of the public sector ombudsman services in overseeing any such

 

approach under paragraph (a);

 

(f)    

how a public service provider will report on their formalised approach

 

under paragraph (a); and

 

(g)    

how the approach under paragraph (a) would ensure all consumers of

 

services covered by this Act have access to a licensed alternative redress

 

mechanism.

 

(3)    

For the purposes of this section a public service is any provided to the consumer

 

directly by—


 
 

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Consumer Rights Bill, continued

 
 

(a)    

a Government department;

 

(b)    

a local or public authority; or

 

(c)    

a trader acting on behalf of these organisations.

 

(4)    

For the purposes of this section a person shall be a consumer of public services

 

under a “direct commissioning contract” when they enter any—

 

(a)    

agreement;

 

(b)    

contract;

 

(c)    

consumer notice; or

 

(d)    

proposed contract,

 

    

for receiving a service which the person has a direct role in commissioning.’.

 


 

Guidance for statutory regulators

 

Stella Creasy

 

Stephen Doughty

 

Not called  NC2

 

To move the following Clause:—

 

‘(1)    

Within three months of Royal Assent of this Act, the Secretary of State shall

 

publish guidance based on the work of the Implementation Group.

 

(2)    

Guidance published under section (1) shall—

 

(a)    

detail how consumers should be informed of their rights and at what point

 

this should happen;

 

(b)    

ensure that traders have the information they need regarding their

 

responsibilities under this Act and other consumer rights legislation;

 

(c)    

define what may be a “reasonable time” for consumers to secure refunds,

 

repairs or replacement, or repeat performance; and

 

(d)    

specify the sanctions available to enforcement agencies in cases where

 

the guidance has not been followed.

 

(3)    

Within six months of the publication of guidance under subsection (1), the

 

Secretary of State shall issue a code of practice in relation to the exercise of any

 

and all the functions set out in the guidance, subject to the provisions of

 

subsections (5) to (7).

 

(4)    

Any person exercising such a function must have regard to the code in

 

determining any general policy or principles by reference to which the person

 

exercises the function.

 

(5)    

Where the Secretary of State proposes to issue a code of practice under subsection

 

(3), he shall prepare a draft of the code, and shall lay the draft before Parliament.

 

(6)    

Where the draft laid before Parliament under subsection (5) is approved by

 

resolution of each House of Parliament, the Secretary of State shall issue the code.

 

(7)    

A code issued under subsection (6) shall come into force on such date as the

 

Secretary of State may by order made by statutory instrument appoint.’.

 



 
 

Report Stage Proceedings: 13 May 2014                  

629

 

Consumer Rights Bill, continued

 
 

Access to data

 

Stella Creasy

 

Stephen Doughty

 

Negatived on division  NC3

 

To move the following Clause:—

 

‘Schedule [Access to data] has effect.’.

 


 

Guidance based on the work of the implementation group

 

Tom Greatrex

 

Not called  NC4

 

To move the following Clause:—

 

‘(1)    

Within three months of Royal Assent of this Act, the Secretary of State shall

 

publish guidance based on the work of the Implementation Group.

 

(2)    

Guidance published under subsection (1) shall—

 

(a)    

advise on the period that a trader may retain sums paid by the consumer

 

for services not yet supplied by the trader, where it is the consumer who

 

dissolves the contract;

 

(b)    

further to paragraph (a), advise on the terms under which traders should

 

manage the interest on such sums and make provision for the return of

 

this interest to the consumer; and

 

(c)    

advise on whether it should be permissible to charge for a guarantee

 

where that guarantee does not offer any undertaking to the consumer

 

additional to their rights as set out in this Act.’.

 


 

Independent consumer advice

 

Stella Creasy

 

Stephen Doughty

 

Not called  NC5

 

To move the following Clause:—

 

‘Within three months of this Act receiving Royal Assent, the Secretary of State

 

shall produce guidance setting out requirements for all statutory regulators to

 

report annually on the provision of independent advice which is free at the point

 

of delivery, and to make recommendations on ensuring consumers’ rights are

 

protected.’.

 



 
 

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Consumer Rights Bill, continued

 
 

Powers of the Information Commissioner: nuisance calls

 

Yvonne Fovargue

 

Not called  NC10

 

To move the following Clause:—

 

‘(1)    

The Data Protection Act 1998 is amended as follows.

 

(2)    

In section 40 (Enforcement Notices), leave out subsection (2).

 

(3)    

In section 55A (Power of Commissioner to impose monetary penalty), leave out

 

subsection (1)(b).’.

 


 

Stella Creasy

 

Stephen Doughty

 

Not called  NS1

 

To move the following Schedule:—

 

‘Access to data

 

Information for consumers

 

1          

The Secretary of State shall report to Parliament within six months of Royal

 

Assent of this Act setting out how consumers will have access to the

 

information they require in order to make informed assessments of prices,

 

charges and fees.

 

Supply of customer data

 

2          

A report under paragraph 1 shall include details of how the Government

 

intends to—

 

(a)    

make regulations to require all regulated persons to provide customer

 

data relating to transactions between the regulated person and the

 

customer, as set out in section 89 (Supply of customer data) of the

 

Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013;

 

(b)    

enable third parties to make requests for customer data under section

 

89(1)(b) of that Act; and

 

(c)    

ensure customer data is provided in a form which enables the customer

 

or third party to assess whether the price they are paying for a service

 

is reasonable, which should have regard to section 89(7) of the

 

Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013.

 

Designation of regulated persons and regulatory bodies

 

3          

A report under paragraph 1 shall—

 

(a)    

review which traders, including the activities of any government, or

 

local or public authority, as defined by section 2 of this Act, shall be

 

considered a regulated person under section 89(2) of the Enterprise

 

and Regulatory Reform Act 2013; and

 

(b)    

identify a relevant regulatory body to undertake the duties set out in

 

paragraph 4 of this Schedule.


 
 

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Consumer Rights Bill, continued

 
 

Guidance for regulated persons

 

4          

A report under paragraph 1 shall include details of how the Government

 

intends to require regulators of services which are provided by regulated

 

persons, as defined in section 89(2) of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform

 

Act 2013, to produce guidance on the implementation of section 89 of that Act.

 

5          

Guidance produced for regulated persons under paragraph 4 shall include—

 

(a)    

how regulated persons should provide customer data;

 

(b)    

details on the ownership of customer data which shall include, but is

 

not limited to—

 

(i)    

that customer data generated directly, at any point in the

 

course of a contract, is owned by the customer;

 

(ii)    

that prior to any decision requiring the transmission of data in

 

a format where the customer can be identified to a third party,

 

direct consent of the customer as owner of the data must be

 

secured; and

 

(iii)    

how regulated persons should recognise and publicise that

 

such data is owned by the customer;

 

(c)    

how customers may consent to their data being shared with third

 

parties under section 89(1)(b) of the Enterprise and Regulatory

 

Reform Act 2013;

 

(d)    

specify sanctions for traders who are not able to confirm the consent

 

of the customer to sharing their data;

 

(e)    

measures to limit the amount that may be charged for any such single

 

request for data on behalf of multiple customers;

 

(f)    

how regulated persons, who hold data on customers on behalf of any

 

government, local or public authority, can use this information to

 

secure social and consumer benefits; and

 

(g)    

how regulated persons, who hold data on customers on behalf of any

 

government, local or public authority, can contribute to a report under

 

paragraph 7.

 

Access to information: public services

 

6    (1)  

The Secretary of State shall report to Parliament within six months of Royal

 

Assent of this Act on how the Government intends to ensure that all consumers

 

of public services, who have a direct role in commissioning them, are able to

 

access information regarding any consumer contract or consumer notices

 

which may reasonably be understood to apply to them.

 

      (2)  

A report under sub-paragraph (1) shall have particular regard to—

 

(a)    

the access to information that consumers of public services require;

 

and

 

(b)    

how access to information can ensure greater transparency on the

 

work of traders.

 

      (3)  

For the purposes of this paragraph, “public services” means the work of any

 

government, local or public authority or traders offering services on their

 

behalf.

 

Access to information: annual report

 

7    (1)  

The Secretary of State shall produce and submit to Parliament an annual report

 

setting out an analysis of the cumulative costs and benefits of Government

 

decisions relating to the rights of consumers and protection of their interests.

 

      (2)  

A report under sub-paragraph (1) shall in particular address the effect on—


 
 

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Consumer Rights Bill, continued

 
 

(a)    

household consumption;

 

(b)    

vulnerable households; and

 

(c)    

any other subjects as the Secretary of State decides.’.

 


 

New Clauses and new schedules relating to consumer credit or debt

 

management

 

Payday lenders levy

 

Stella Creasy

 

Stephen Doughty

 

Withdrawn  NC6

 

To move the following Clause:—

 

‘The Secretary of State shall produce an annual report on the level at which a levy

 

on lenders in the high cost consumer credit market should be set and bring

 

forward measures to ensure—

 

(a)    

provision of free debt advice for vulnerable consumers; and

 

(b)    

provision of affordable alternative credit through credit unions.’.

 


 

Debt management plan regulation

 

Stella Creasy

 

Stephen Doughty

 

Not called  NC7

 

To move the following Clause:—

 

‘The Financial Conduct Authority shall bring forward recommendations within a

 

year of the commencement of this Act regarding the practice of directly charging

 

consumers fees or charges for the provision of debt management plans, including

 

recommendations on the phasing out of such practices.’.

 


 

Credit broker fees

 

Yvonne Fovargue

 

Not called  NC9

 

To move the following Clause:—

 

‘(1)    

The Consumer Credit Act 1974 is amended as follows.

 

(2)    

In section 160A (Credit intermediaries) after subsection (4) insert—

 

“(4A)    

Persons engaged in credit intermediary activity under this section or

 

credit broking activity under section 145 shall not charge or take any fee


 
 

Report Stage Proceedings: 13 May 2014                  

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Consumer Rights Bill, continued

 
 

from a debtor in respect of these activities until such time as an

 

introduction results in the debtor entering into a relevant agreement.”.’.

 


 

Practices of rent to own companies

 

Yvonne Fovargue

 

Not called  NC11

 

To move the following Clause:—

 

‘(1)    

This section applies to credit agreements and consumer hire agreements taken out

 

in respect of household goods specified in rules by the Financial Conduct

 

Authority.

 

(2)    

The rules under subsection (1) shall—

 

(a)    

include a requirement on lenders to include in pre-contractual

 

information adequate explanations and information allowing prospective

 

customers to compare both the cash price of goods and the total cost of

 

the credit agreement to a representative retail price for those goods;

 

(b)    

prohibit lenders from requiring customers to take out insurance sold or

 

brokered by the lender as a condition of obtaining credit;

 

(c)    

set out specific steps lenders must take before taking action to enforce the

 

agreement or recover possession of goods; and

 

(d)    

set out the steps lenders should take to check that the agreement is

 

affordable and suitable for prospective consumers.’.

 


 

Consumer credit: bill of sale

 

Stella Creasy

 

Negatived on division  NC23

 

To move the following Clause:—

 

‘(1)    

Where a person is a purchaser of goods subject to a bill of sale, made in

 

connection with a regulated agreement under the Consumer Credit Act 1974, in

 

good faith and without notice of the bill of sale, title to those goods shall pass to

 

that person.

 

(2)    

A creditor is not entitled to enforce a bill of sale made in connection with a

 

regulated agrement by recovering possession of the goods except through an

 

order of the court.

 

(3)    

If goods are recovered by the creditor in contravention to subsection (2)—

 

(a)    

the bill of sale will be treated as invalidly made; and

 

(b)    

the debtor shall be released from any outstanding liability under the

 

regulated agreement.


 
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Revised 14 May 2014