§ Mr. Patchett
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will seek to amend the Trade Descriptions Act 1968 to (a) introduce specific controls to outlaw the practice of clocking secondhand cars, (b) close the loopholes which exist concerning sales of unroadworthy vehicles, (c) provide a licensing scheme for car auctions and (d) make the supply of pre-sales information a mandatory requirement on all sellers of used cars.
§ Mr. Howard
I have no present plans to amend the Trade Descriptions Act 1968 in the manner suggested. The "clocking" of a used car odometer is already an offence under the 1968 Act. The sale of unroadworthy vehicles is governed by the Road Traffic Acts. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport is currently considering suggestions for strengthening enforcement of that legislation. My own Department is considering a discussion paper prepared by enforcement authorities on the merits of licensing used car auctions. The introduction of a mandatory requirement to supply a pre-sales58W information report on used cars offered for sale has been considered by my Department on a number of occasions and rejected.
There would be major problems in devising criteria sufficiently objective to form the basis of a criminal offence and effective enforcement of the requirement would be likely to place a very heavy burden on enforcement resources.