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Consumers: Protection

Volume 476: debated on Monday 2 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform for what reasons commencement of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations has been postponed from the planned date of 6 April 2008. (198159)

The last stages of finalising the draft Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations took longer than expected with the result that businesses would have had little time to prepare had the Regulations been brought into force on 6 April as originally planned. Following a request, I thought it right and consistent with better regulation good practice to delay commencement to 26 May to give business a full 12 weeks to prepare from date the draft Regulations were laid before Parliament.

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what changes have been made to the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations since the draft regulations were published for consultation in 2007. (198182)

The most important changes compared with the draft Regulations published for consultation in May 2007 are:

(a) the term “typical consumer” has been replaced by “average consumer” wherever the former appear in the Regulations;

(b) the effect of a commercial practice on an “average consumer” now takes account of such a person having characteristics which include being reasonably well informed, reasonably observant and circumspect as set out in Recital 18 of the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive (UCPD, Directive 2005/29/EC) which the Regulations implement; and

(c) the wording describing the circumstances whether the two variations of the “average consumer” test (the average member of a targeted group and the average vulnerable consumer) apply more closely follows that in the UCPD.

The other main changes to the Regulations are set out in the Government’s Response to the May 2007 consultation, a copy of which is available in the House of Commons Library.