Consumer Rights in UK Law

Leading Cases
  • Director General of Fair Trading v First National Bank Plc
    • House of Lords
    • 25 October 2001

    The object of the regulations and the directive is to protect consumers against the inclusion of unfair and prejudicial terms in standard-form contracts into which they enter, and that object would plainly be frustrated if regulation 3(2)(b) were so broadly interpreted as to cover any terms other than those falling squarely within it. In my opinion the term, as part of a provision prescribing the consequences of default, plainly does not fall within it.

    Openness requires that the terms should be expressed fully, clearly and legibly, containing no concealed pitfalls or traps. Fair dealing requires that a supplier should not, whether deliberately or unconsciously, take advantage of the consumer's necessity, indigence, lack of experience, unfamiliarity with the subject matter of the contract, weak bargaining position or any other factor listed in or analogous to those listed in Schedule 2 of the regulations.

    The purpose of the directive is twofold, viz the promotion of fair standard contract forms to improve the functioning of the European market place and the protection of consumers throughout the European Community. It treats consumers as presumptively weaker parties and therefore fit for protection from abuses by stronger contracting parties. This is an objective which must throughout guide the interpretation of the directive as well as the implementing regulations.

    It is obviously useful to assess the impact of an impugned term on the parties' rights and obligations by comparing the effect of the contract with the term and the effect it would have without it.

  • Wilson v First County Trust Ltd (No 2)
    • House of Lords
    • 10 July 2003

    In the present case Parliament cannot have intended that application of section 3(1) should have the effect of altering parties' existing rights and obligations under the Consumer Credit Act. For the purpose of identifying the rights of Mrs Wilson and First County Trust under their January 1999 agreement the Consumer Credit Act is to be interpreted without reference to section 3(1).

    In my view, thus framed, the complaint does not bring article 6(1) into play. In terms of labels, that is a restriction on the scope of the rights a creditor acquires under a regulated agreement. It does not bar access to court to decide whether the case is caught by the restriction. But in taking that power away from a court the legislature was not encroaching on territory which ought properly to be the province of the courts in a democratic society.

  • Jarrett v Barclays Bank Plc
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 31 October 1996

    In my view, in the light of those statements of principle, these actions do not have as their object tenancies of immovable property. In each action the foundation for the claim against the Bank under s.75 (and in the case of the Jarretts s.56 also) is the debtor-creditor-supplier agreement.

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Books & Journal Articles
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Law Firm Commentaries
  • UK: Consumer Rights Bill
    • LexBlog United Kingdom
    Parliament is currently considering various amendments to the new Consumer Rights Bill, with the the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (“BIS”) intending for the Bill to be implemented ...
    • LexBlog United Kingdom
    By Matthew Duncombe (Leeds) The last 12 months have seen significant change to the consumer law landscape in the UK, culminating most recently with the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (which came into for...
  • Consumer Rights Act receives Royal Assent
    • LexBlog United Kingdom
    The Act will reform and consolidate consumer law in the United Kingdom (UK). For insurers offering consumer products the main impact of the Act is likely to be seen in the new laws for digital cont...
  • UK Consumer Rights Act 2015
    • JD Supra United Kingdom
    The Consumer Rights Act (“the 2015 Act”) received Royal Assent on 26 March 2015 and comes into force 1 October 2015. The 2015 Act aims to reform and consolidate eight pieces of legislation addressi...
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