§ 3.13 p.m.
§ [The Question was as follows:
§ To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will take steps to prevent the misleading of the public by the practice (now widely resorted to) of indicating on packages of consumer goods that the selling price has been lowered by an "amount off" clearly printed on the package, thus showing that the revised selling price is the true price and that no discount "is being offered.]385
§ LORD BOWLES
My Lords, the Trade Descriptions Bill includes provision to prohibit a trader from giving false or misleading indications that he is offering goods at less than the price that he has recently charged for such goods. These provisions should ensure that packets printed with indications of a price reduction are not offered unless the retailer does in fact cut his regular price by the stated amount. This Bill, when an Act, will come into force six months after it is passed.
§ LORD BARNBY
My Lords, it is to be assumed from the noble Lord's reply that the abuse to which I referred will be stopped by the Trade Descriptions Bill. If not, it would appear that the credulity of the community, which has hitherto been accepting such a palpable fraud on its purchases, is very much in need of correction. I had imagined that this practice would still continue, and I appreciate the noble Lord's assurance to the House that under the Bill this absurd fraud will be stopped.
§ LORD DONALDSON OF KINGS-BRIDGE
My Lords, can my noble friend give me his reassurance that the Trade Descriptions Bill will catch simple variants of the example given by the noble Lord, Lord Barnby, such as "Price elsewhere 25s. Our price 19s. 11d."; or "Price in the West End 25s." The Consumer Council were worried that those evasions might get through, and we shall he glad of a reassurance.
§ LORD BOWLES
My Lords, the Common's Amendments to this Bill will be before this House next week, and I suggest that that would be the right time to go into the details.