§ Mr. Arnold Shaw
asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection what action he proposes to take on the report of the Price Commission on intruder alarms.
§ Mr. Hattersley
This report was published on 31st May and I have placed138W a copy in the Library of the House. The Commission's principal conclusion is that there should be more competition between firms in the intruder alarm industry, although net percentage profit margins were not found to be excessive. Fees and charges were found to have increased at a rate similar to that of the retail price index, but some users, particularly those with small systems, had been faced with increases of up to 100 per cent. The Commission found a close association between insurance companies and the industry.
The Commission recommended that prospective users should obtain competitive quotations before choosing any particular system, and that they should have more opportunities to buy systems outright rather than renting them. It also recommended clearer contracts to enable customers to be more fully aware of their rights, with rents being shown separately from annual maintenance charges and suitable warranty or guarantee provisions.
The report suggests that customers should be free to select a maintenance company other than the installer if they so wish.
I am proposing to discuss the Commission's findings with the industry and other interested organisations. I shall make a further statement when these discussions are completed.