HC Deb 03 July 1952 vol 503 cc602-3
16. Mr. Rankin

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that while the existing hire purchase Order remains in force an article acquired by the method of rental agreement can never become the property of the purchaser; and if he will bear this in mind when considering future action regarding rental agreement.

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

If the agreement is one of hire, the article does not become the property of the hirer. The Hire-Purchase and Credit Sale Agreements (Control) Order deals, however, with hire purchase agreements under which the property will or may pass to the hirer. In present circumstances, I do not intend to amend this Order so as to make it apply to hire agreements.

Mr. Rankin

I do not think that the right hon. Gentleman understands the point of the Question. Is he aware that under this system of rental agreements, once the purchaser has discharged his obligations the goods may remain in his possession but do not pass into his ownership, and that he must continue to pay rent for an undefined period? Does the Minister think that that nefarious practice is in the public interest, and will he not consider amending the hire purchase Order to put an end to it?

Mr. Thorneycroft

When people get goods under any arrangement, they would be well advised to look at the agreement into which they are entering. If they enter into such an agreement as described by the hon. Member, that would be an agreement, I understand, in which the property did not pass. It would be a hiring agreement, and the Order which is referred to in the answer would not apply to it.

Mr. Rankin

I agree that those concerned should examine their agreements, but is it not the function of the House to protect people in their own interests against follies, if we agree on that word, of this description? Surely we have a duty in the matter.