§ Mr. St. John-Stevas
asked the Secretary of State for Trade (1) if he will take steps to improve the effectiveness of the Sale of Goods Act 1979 in relation to the sale of cars with regard to those sold as new but stockpiled and unregistered;
(2) if the Director General of Fair Trading is proposing to amend and enforce the code of practice for the motor industry—revised March 1981—with regard to the sale of stockpiled cars as new.
§ Mrs. Sally Oppenheim
I share my right hon. Friend's concern about the problems which may arise for consumers as a result of the build-up of large stockpiles of unsold cars. Those paying the full price of a new car should receive a vehicle which can fairly be described as "new".
The Sale of Goods Act already requires a car supplied by a dealer to a consumer to be as described and of "merchantable quality". The code of practice for the motor industry reminds dealers of their responsibilities in this respect. It also requires them to ensure that new cars are delivered in a condition which is to the manufacturer's standard.
I welcome the publicity given to this matter which will, I hope, be helpful to consumers. I do not contemplate any 237W new legislation at present, and I understand that the Director-General has no plans to suggest to the motor industry further revisions of its code of practice. I am, however, asking the Director General of Fair Trading to keep the situation under close review, and I would not rule out the possibility of Government action if clear evidence emerges of significant damage to consumer interests and if the trade itself proves unable or unwilling to put matters right.