The Government are today publishing a consultation on adding new remedies to the consumer law enforcement process.
The consultation sets out proposals to amend part 8 of the Enterprise Act 2002 so that public enforcers of consumer law (principally the Office of Fair Trading, Local Authority Trading Standards Service) can apply to a civil court for an enforcement order aimed at achieving one or more of the following three outcomes, in addition to stopping illegal behaviour.
Improved business compliance with the law;
Improved redress for consumers affected by the breach; and/or
More confident consumers who are empowered to exercise greater choice.
Businesses will also continue to be able to offer undertakings to enforcers as an alternative to court action.
Example actions could include introducing a complaints handling scheme, repaying overcharges made by consumers or working with third-party feedback sites. The most appropriate action would be determined on a case-by-case basis.
The consultation seeks views on these proposals, and also considers whether the powers in the Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Act 2008 could alternatively deliver the same outcomes.
The consultation will close on 31 December 2012.
Electronic copies of the consultation and the accompanying draft impact assessment have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.