Members of the Lords discussed the key purpose and principles of the Consumer Rights Bill, during second reading on Tuesday 1 July.
Business minister, Viscount Younger of Leckie (Conservative), introduced the bill, saying that consumer law reforms will bring benefits for consumers and businesses. He outlined proposals to streamline existing law, making it clearer – empowering consumers and stimulating competition and growth.
In the debate that followed members broadly welcomed the bill, but raised concerns about enforcement and the absence of any measures covering secondary ticketing or the practice of double-charging by letting or estate agents. Several members spoke about the need for consumers to retain the right to receive bills in paper format without being penalised.
The Consumer Rights Bill now enters committee stage, the first chance for line by line scrutiny in the Lords. A date is yet to be scheduled.
Consumer Rights Bill summary
The Consumer Rights Bill sets out a framework for key consumer rights covering contracts for goods, services, digital content and the law relating to unfair terms in consumer contracts.
The bill contains a number of measures, including:
- easier routes for consumers and SMEs to challenge anti-competitive behaviour
- stronger powers to investigate potential breaches of consumer law
- clarification that certain enforcers, eg Trading Standards, can operate across local authority boundaries
- greater flexibility for civil courts and public enforcers when dealing with breaches or potential breaches of consumer law
- imposing a duty on letting agents to publish their fees.