Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
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New bill will strengthen consumer rights

New bill will strengthen consumer rights

News Release issued by the COI News Distribution Service on 19 September 2011

Edward Davey has today announced a new Consumer Bill of Rights, which will streamline confusing and overlapping legislation and regulation, and provide stronger consumer protection.

The Bill will update the law for goods and services and for digital content, clarify the law on unfair contract terms, consolidate consumer powers for Trading Standards, and provide much stronger protection for vulnerable customers targeted by misleading aggressive sales practices.

Consumer Minister Edward Davey said:

“Consumer law in the UK comes from a variety of Acts and regulation, making it complex and confusing. This is bad for consumers and bad for business as people don’t know their rights and the cost of compliance for business is higher than necessary.

“The Consumer Bill of Rights will consolidate, clarify and strengthen the consumer laws already in place, which will make it easier for everyone to understand and consumer rights in the UK will be stronger than ever. This Bill will give everyone a single place to find all their consumer rights.”

Current aggressive practices include:

implying a connection with social services or an old age charity;preying on the elderly person’s fear of losing their independence;writing out cheques or an order form for the victim; andsalespersons refusing to leave the premises until they have secured a sale.

We will be proposing that victims should have a clear time, extending beyond the default cancellation period currently in place, in which to unwind the contract.

The Bill will bring together consumer rights currently found in 12 Acts or Regulations and the incoming European Consumer Rights Directive. It will be in simple English, making it easier for consumers and businesses to understand what is a complex and inconsistent area of law.

By consolidating consumer rights we will substantially reduce red tape for businesses, which will in turn help us to create the right conditions for sustainable economic growth.

Notes to Editors

1. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills’ (BIS) intention to consolidate, clarify and strengthen consumer law in July was a key response to the Retail Red Tape Challenge. BIS also set out that it would implement the Consumer Rights Directive in a Consumer Bill of Rights in the BIS Business Plan (s.9). You can find these on the BIS website here: www.bis.gov.uk

2. This Bill will complement a number of consumer initiatives from BIS, including the streamlining of the consumer advice and enforcement landscape, and the Consumer Empowerment strategy.

3. BIS's online newsroom contains the latest press notices, speeches, as well as video and images for download. It also features an up to date list of BIS press office contacts. See http://www.bis.gov.uk/newsroom for more information.

Contacts:

BIS Press Office
NDS.BIS@coi.gsi.gov.uk

Joshua Coe
Phone: 020 7215 5943
Joshua.Coe@bis.gsi.gov.uk

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