HC Deb 27 May 1952 vol 501 cc1140-1
31. Mr. Rankin

asked the President of the Board of Trade what steps he intends to take to protect purchasers of television and radio sets who take advantage of systems of deferred payments.

Mr. H. Strauss

I assume that what the hon. Member has in mind is protection against abuses in hire-purchase and credit sale. Protection is given by the Hire-Purchase Act, 1938, which amended the law on the subject. Similar legislation is in force in Scotland and Northern Ireland. We have received no representations that the law is inadequate.

32. Mr. Rankin

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is aware that hire-purchase agreements for the sale of television and radio sets are now being abandoned in favour of rental agreements which can be more onerous; and what steps he is taking to protect the public interest in the matter.

Mr. H. Strauss

I am aware that there has been an increase in the number of rental agreements for television and radio sets. If any cases brought to notice prove on investigation to involve a breach of the Hire-Purchase and Credit Sale Agreements (Control) Order, action will be taken.

Mr. Rankin

Is the hon. and learned Gentleman aware that under these rental agreements certain firms selling, for example, a Columbia television set at £69 guineas, are accepting an initial payment of £5 instead of the 23 guineas imposed under his Order of January this year, and that the total cost under the rental agreements, spread over two and a half years, is £124 5s. 6d. as compared with the cost under the hire-purchase agreement of £76 1s.? What steps does he propose to take to protect people against these extortionate charges?

Mr. Strauss

The question is, is there or is there not a breach of the Order? If the hon. Gentleman has evidence of any practices which appear to be a breach, I should be most willing and anxious to investigate them with a view to taking action.