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New powers to protect vulnerable consumers from rogue traders – Swinson

August 6, 2013 6:09 PM
Originally published by East Midlands Liberal Democrats

Liberal Democrat Business Minister Jo Swinson has today announced new plans to tackle rogue traders and give better protection to vulnerable and elderly consumers.

Rogue traders cost consumers billions of pounds per year and can cause distress and alarm to people, especially elderly and vulnerable people.

The new proposals amending the Consumer Protection Regulations from Unfair Trading Regulations will:

  • give consumers 90 days to cancel a contract and receive a full refund if they have been misled or bullied into agreeing it. After the 90 days consumers can still receive a proportion of their money back. Currently, it is unclear what consumers are entitled to in this situation
  • give consumers new rights to recover payments made to traders who mislead or bully them into paying money which was not owed. Currently, the trader can be prosecuted but the consumer finds it much more difficult to get their money back; and
  • they will also have the right to claim compensation for any alarm or distress caused by these practices

Jo Swinson said:

"For too long the rules that apply when buying goods and services have been murky for both consumers and businesses. The situation is even worse for vulnerable consumers who are misled into buying something they neither need nor want.

"We want consumers to be confident to shop with a range of traders and to drive rogues out of business. The new rights announced today will mean consumers are entitled to the same level of protection whether they are purchasing goods or services online, at home or in a shop."

The Facts

Along with the draft Consumer Rights Bill announced in June, the reforms to consumer law will enhance consumer rights and make them easier to understand and help businesses interpret and apply the law. The changes will boost the UK economy by over £4 billion over the next decade.

For full details, please see: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-powers-to-protect-vulnerable-and-elderly-consumers-against-rogue-traders