HC Deb 01 March 1982 vol 19 cc13-4
14. Mr. Heddle

asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he is satisfied with the working of the Hire-Puchase Act 1964.

Mr. Eyre

Yes, Sir.

Mr. Heddle

Does my hon. Friend agree that someone who might buy a secondhand product, for example, a car, which is subject to a leasing agreement does not have the same protection under the Hire-Purchase Act 1964 as someone who might innocently purchase a secondhand car that might be subject to a hire-purchase agreement? If so, does he further agree that thousands of people could be driving cars which, for reasons best known to others, they do not own? Will my hon. Friend bring forward legislation to amend the apparent anomaly in the Act?

Mr. Eyre

I share my hon. Friend's concern about the innocent private buyer. I am grateful to him for his proposed amendment to the Supply of Goods and Services Bill. I am urgently considering a number of legal and other aspects of the matter, particularly whether the amendment is within the scope of the Bill. I shall be in touch with him on all these matters at the earliest possible moment.

Mr. John Fraser

Does the Minister agree that there is no possible reason of principle why the same protection should not apply to a consumer of a product on a leasing agreement as to a consumer of a product on a hire-purchase agreement? Would the Government, as the first single piece of primary consumer legislation for which they have been responsible in the past 34 months, amend the Act?

Mr. Eyre

I have a great deal of sympathy with the hon. Gentleman's feelings. I agree that the innocent private purchaser is likely to be in a weaker position to bear a loss than a finance company. If the hon. Gentleman would bear with me while we consider the legal aspects, and particularly whether the matter comes within the scope of the Bill, I shall do my best to be helpful.

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