HC Deb 27 May 1960 vol 624 cc934-5

3.4 p.m.

Mr. Gerald Nabarro (Kidderminster)

I beg to move, in line 34, after "of", to insert: a sale under a credit-sale agreement or". It might be for the convenience of the House, Mr. Speaker, if this and the other two Amendments on the Order Paper were discussed together. They are the following Amendments: In page 5, line 16, at the end, to insert: Act of 1932" means the Hire Purchase and Small Debt (Scotland) Act, 1932, as amended by the Hire-Purchase Act, 1954; credit-sale agreement" means an agreement for the sale of goods under which the whole or part of the purchase price is payable by instalments, except that, as respects Scotland, it does not include an agreement to sell under a contract to which the Act of 1932 applies. In page 5, line 20, to leave out from "the" to the end of line 21 and to insert "Act of 1932".

Mr. Speaker


Mr. Nabarro

Clause 2 makes it an offence, among other things, to let under a hire-purchase agreement an oil heater which does not comply with the prescribed standards in the Bill. Subsection (3, d) provides an exemption for a person who proves that he had at no time possession of the oil heater concerned and became the owner of it only at the moment that he entered into the hire-purchase agreement. This exemption which has a respectable precedent in the form of a similar exemption granted in the Heating Appliances (Fireguards) Act, 1952, is intended to cover hire-purchase finance companies who do not handle goods—I use the word "handle" in a physical sense—and therefore have no opportunity to see whether these goods comply with the prescribed standard. These hire-purchase finance companies merely provide the money to finance the hire-purchase agreements between the actual seller of the goods and his customer. It has been represented to me that the exemption should be extended to cover credit-sale agreements where the circumstances are identical, except that the ownership of the goods passes to the customer on completion of the agreement, the customer, of course, paying off the debt by instalments over the period, now limited by recent Statutory Instruments, instead of remaining with the seller until all, or according to the terms of the agreement itself, a proportion, of the instalments have been paid.

It seems clear to me that the merits are the same in either case and that the exemption should be extended accordingly. In the case of a credit-sale agreement it seems that, as a matter of law, ownership of the goods rests with the finance company—that is, the hire-purchase finance company, momentarily on its passage from the actual seller to the customer, and this would bring the finance company within the mischief of Clause 2 were it not for the proposed exemption enshrined in the Amendment.

The Amendment makes the necessary extension to Clause 2 (3, d). The other two Amendments define "credit sale agreement" and are therefore of a consequential drafting character to create the necessary changes in Clause 8.

Amendment agreed to.