Consumer Rights Act in the Lords

26 March 2015

The Consumer Rights Bill received royal assent, becoming law, on Thursday 26 March.

Follow the journey of the bill through the House of Lords.

Consumer Rights Bill consideration of amendments: Tuesday 24 February

The government announced tougher measures to regulate secondary ticketing. The bill bounced back to the Commons for further consideration of Lords changes.

Consumer Rights Bill third reading: Monday 8 December

The debate focused on the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT), and peers discussed the appointment of judges to the CAT, agreeing to modify the process.

Consumer Rights Bill report stage day three: Wednesday 26 November 

The Consumer Rights Bill continued report stage, a further chance for scrutiny in the Lords, on Wednesday 26 November. There were four votes in the chamber.

Consumer Rights Bill report stage day two: Monday 24 November

The first vote concerned the power of trading standards officers to inspect premises - specifically plans to introduce a requirement for 48 hours' written notice in advance of an inspection. Members voted 194 in favour and 220 against, so the change was not made.

Peers then discussed a proposal covering tenants' fees held by letting agents. An amendment to introduce protected client accounts went to a vote. Members voted 123 in favour and 168 against, so the change was not made.

The final vote took place over an amendment seeking to outlaw any contract that allows estate or letting agents to charge both buyer and seller, or both landlord and tenant. The change was not made after members voted 113 in favour and 156 against.

Consumer Rights Bill report stage day one: Wednesday 19 November

Members of the Lords began by considering a proposal that would require loan book lenders to obtain a court order before repossessing goods. Peers voted 176 in favour and 244 against, so the change was not made.

The second vote concerned the reselling of event tickets and ticket crime. An amendment proposing regulation to help combat the problem went to a vote with 183 in favour and 171 against. Peers voted 183 in favour and 171 against. The change was made.

Consumer Rights Bill grand committee stage

The Consumer Rights Bill spent eight days in grand committee in the Moses Room. The process is almost identical to committee stage taken in the chamber as members carry out a detailed line by line examination of the separate parts (clauses and schedules) of a bill.

Starting from the front of the bill, members work through to the end. Any member of the Lords can take part. The single exception is that votes do not take place in a grand committee. Any issues requiring a vote must be resolved when the bill returns to the main chamber for report stage.

13 October (day 1)

15 October (day 2)

20 October (day 3)

22 October (day 4)

27 October (day 5)

29 October (day 6)

3 November (day 7)

5 November (day 8)

Consumer Rights Bill second reading: Tuesday 1 July 

Business minister, Viscount Younger of Leckie (Conservative), introduced the bill, saying that consumer law reforms will bring benefits for consumers and businesses. He outlined proposals to streamline existing law, making it clearer – empowering consumers and stimulating competition and growth.

In the debate that followed members broadly welcomed the bill, but raised concerns about enforcement and the absence of any measures covering secondary ticketing or the practice of double-charging by letting or estate agents. Several members spoke about the need for consumers to retain the right to receive bills in paper format without being penalised.

Consumer Rights Bill summary

The Consumer Rights Bill sets out a framework for key consumer rights covering contracts for goods, services, digital content and the law relating to unfair terms in consumer contracts.

The bill contains a number of measures, including:

  • easier routes for consumers and SMEs to challenge anti-competitive behaviour
  • stronger powers to investigate potential breaches of consumer law
  • clarification that certain enforcers, eg Trading Standards, can operate across local authority boundaries
  • greater flexibility for civil courts and public enforcers when dealing with breaches or potential breaches of consumer law
  • imposing a duty on letting agents to publish their fees.

Further information

Image: iStockphoto

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