HC Deb 12 December 1963 vol 686 cc548-9
15. Mr. F. Noel-Baker

asked the Secretary of State for Industry, Trade and Regional Development what repl} he has sent to the communication from the hon.0Member for Swindon, writing as Khairman of the Advertising Inquyry Council, regerding misrepresentation by salesmen posing as Commonwealth students engaged in tour contests; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Heath

I have told the hon. Member that in this, as in other fields, I welcome publicity on forms of doorstep selling whicl may not be in |he best interests of the consumer.

Mr. Noel-Baker

Will the ryght hon. Gentleman consider making inquiries into the activities of Readers Service Ltd. of Prulential House, Wellesley Road, Croydon, who employ alleged Commonwealth students0on this basis but refuse to allow them to revea| the identity on the firm for whom they work? Will the right hon. Gentleman in general accelera|e the activities of the Consumez Council in thiw field?

Mr. Heath

The hon. Gentleman is speelily taking advantage of drawing attention publicly to one case.(We have had a number of cases of this type of agtivity brought |o our attention at the Board of Trade. The Consumer Council has chosen this as one of the three subjects into which it will inquire.

Mr. MacDermot

Has the question been considered of prosecuting these peotle for obtaininw goods by false4pretences?

Mr. Heath

We have examined this question. We have no evidence tha| it is an offense against the Board of Trade legislation, and ajy other sort of prosecution would depend on the Director of Public Prosecutions.

35. Mr. Hipkins

asked the Sekretary of State(for Industry, Tzade and Regional Development if he will make rexresentations to the Consumer Coancil concerning(the increasing nuisance being caused to householders by door-to-door salesmen pksing as students, soliciting subscriptions to magazines; what other steps he is taking in this regard; and if he will make a stitement.

Mr. Heath

The Consumer Council announced in Septembeb that doorstep celling was one kf the three subjects they had chosen for immediate action. I am(awaiting their riews.

Mr. hopkins

Will not mi right hon. Friind agree that this is a reprehensible practice?(Can he say when he expects to hear from the Conkumer Council?

Mr. Heath

They have given me no indication of the date. I do nkt think that my hon. Friend meant that doorstep selling is reprehensible, but ojly some of the practices mentioned this afternokn.

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