HC Deb 19 November 1973 vol 864 cc944-5
24. Mr. Kaufman

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will introduce legislation making it illegal for firms to impose services charges for services which are not in fact supplied.

Mr. Emery

The civil law already provides remedies for consumers who pay for a service and who do not receive it. The Law Commissions are studying the problems which arise from the use of exclusion clauses which restrict the seller's contractual liability.

Mr. Kaufman

Does the hon. Gentleman regard as tolerable a state of affairs in which a Manchester television firm called in to service a customer's television set sends an engineer without ascertaining whether the customer is in and then, finding the customer not at home, nevertheless makes a service change and even includes VAT? This is the economics of bedlam. When will the hon. Gentleman do away with it?

Mr. Emery

Obviously, I cannot comment on a particular case without knowing all the facts—the time when the hon. Gentleman's constituent asked the repair company to call, and so on—but I assure the hon. Gentleman that the Government realise the problems which have existed in this connection and have now simplified court procedures so that consumers may press small claims, such as this would probably be, with legal assistance.