Consumer Rights in UK Law
Director General of Fair Trading v First National Bank Plc
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.
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)
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.
In my view, consistently with the underlying objective of article 1 of the First Protocol, the relevant provisions in the Consumer Credit Act are more readily and appropriately characterised as a statutory deprivation of the lender's rights of property in the broadest sense of that expression than as a mere delimitation of the extent of the rights granted by a transaction.
I turn now to consider whether section 127(3) of the Consumer Credit Act is compatible with the rights guaranteed by article 1 of the First Protocol. It is common ground that section 127(3) pursues a legitimate aim. The fairness of a system of law governing the contractual or property rights of private persons is a matter of public concern.
The complaint of those arguing for incompatibility is that the provisions of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 denied the lender its 'Convention rights' under this Article. I agree with your Lordships that they did not but my reasoning is not wholly the same. The evidence of what really happened in the material transaction is exiguous and I recognise that the Article may have been engaged. It follows that s.65 may deprive the pledgee of one of its possessions.
Jarrett v Barclays Bank Plc
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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