UK Laws - Legal Portal
 
Navigation
News

Consumers, Estate Agents and Redress Act 2007 (c. 17)

(The document as of February, 2008)

-- Back--

Page 1

Pages: P.1 | P.2 | P.3 | P.4 | P.5 | P.6 | P.7

Consumers, Estate Agents and Redress Act 2007

2007 CHAPTER 17

CONTENTS

Content
  1. Part 1

    The National Consumer Council

    1. The National Consumer Council and territorial committees

      1. 1. Establishment of the National Consumer Council and its territorial committees

      2. 2. The territorial committees

    2. "Consumer", "consumer matters" and "designated consumers"

      1. 3. "Consumer" and "consumer matters"

      2. 4. "Designated consumers"

    3. Determining priorities

      1. 5. Forward work programmes

      2. 6. General provision about functions

    4. Annual report

      1. 7. Annual report

    5. The core functions

      1. 8. The representative function

      2. 9. The research function

      3. 10. The information function

    6. Powers of investigation

      1. 11. General powers of investigation

      2. 12. Investigation of complaints made by vulnerable designated consumers

      3. 13. Investigation of complaints relating to disconnection of gas or electricity

      4. 14. Reference of matters to the Gas and Electricity Markets Authority

      5. 15. Reference of matters to the Postal Services Commission

      6. 16. Investigations relating to public post offices

    7. Other functions of the Council

      1. 17. Reports by the Council

      2. 18. Secretary of State's power to require reports

      3. 19. Advice, information and guidance

      4. 20. Duty to enter into co-operation arrangements

      5. 21. Power to co-operate and give assistance

      6. 22. Voluntary activities

      7. 23. Supplementary powers etc

    8. Information

      1. 24. Provision of information to the Council

      2. 25. Enforcement by regulator of section 24 notice

      3. 26. Enforcement by court of section 24 notice

      4. 27. Provision of information by the Council

      5. 28. Exemptions from requirements to provide information

      6. 29. Disclosure of information

    9. Abolition of consumer bodies

      1. 30. Abolition o Northern Ireland">38. Removal of the Council's functions in relation to Northern Ireland

    10. Representation on other consumer panels

      1. 39. The Financial Services Consumer Panel

      2. 40. The OFCOM Consumer Panel

    11. Interpretation

      1. 41. Interpretation of Part 1

  2. Part 2

    Complaints handling and redress schemes

    1. Introductory

      1. 42. Interpretation of Part 2

    2. Standards for handling complaints

      1. 43. Standards for handling complaints

      2. 44. Requirements for making regulations under section 43

      3. 45. Information with respect to compliance with complaints handling standards

      4. 46. Supply of information to consumers

    3. Requirements relating to redress schemes

      1. 47. Membership of redress scheme

      2. 48. Membership of redress schemes: supplementary

      3. 49. Approval of redress schemes

      4. 50. Approval of redress schemes: supplementary

      5. 51. Procedure for refusing or withdrawing approval

    4. Enforcement

      1. 52. Enforcement of requirements imposed under Part 2

  3. Part 3

    Amendment of the Estate Agents Act 1979

    1. Estate agents' duties

      1. 53. Membership of redress schemes

      2. 54. Duty to keep records

    2. Prohibition and warning orders

      1. 55. Grounds for prohibition orders

      2. 56. Grounds for warning orders

    3. Investigatory powers

      1. 57. Powers of entry and inspection

      2. 58. Failure to produce information

  4. Part 4

    Miscellaneous and general

    1. Contracts concluded away from business premises

      1. 59. Contracts concluded away from business premises

    2. Subordinate legislation

      1. 60. Orders and regulations

      2. 61. Directions

      3. 62. Parliamentary control of orders and regulations

    3. Amendments, transitional provision and repeals

      1. 63. Minor, consequential and transitional provision

      2. 64. Repeals

    4. General

      1. 65. Extent

      2. 66. Commencement

      3. 67. Short title

    1. Schedule 1

      The National Consumer Council

      1. Part 1

        Members of the Council

      2. Part 2

        Staff of the Council

      3. Part 3

        Territorial, regional and other committees

      4. Part 4

        Procedure etc

      5. Part 5

        Funding and accounts

      6. Part 6

        Status etc

    2. Schedule 2

      Enforcement of information requirements

    3. Schedule 3

      Abolition of consumer bodies: transitional provision

    4. Schedule 4

      Transfer of property etc to Council

    5. Schedule 5

      Information relating to compliance with complaints handling standards

    6. Schedule 6

      Estate Agents' Redress Schemes

    7. Schedule 7

      Minor and consequential amendments

    8. Schedule 8

      Repeals

An Act to make provision for the establishment of the National Consumer Council and its functions; to make provision for the abolition of other consumer bodies; to make provision about the handling of consumer complaints by certain providers; to make provision requiring certain providers to be members of redress schemes in respect of consumer complaints; to amend the Estate Agents Act 1979; to make provision about the cancellation of certain contracts concluded away from business premises; and for connected purposes.

[19th July 2007]

Be it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:--



Part 1 The National Consumer Council

The National Consumer Council and territorial committees

1 Establishment of the National Consumer Council and its territorial committees

(1) There is to be a body corporate called the National Consumer Council or, in Welsh, Cyngor Defnyddwyr Cenedlaethol ("the Council").

(2) The Council must establish and maintain--

(a) a committee for Scotland to be known as the Scottish Consumer Council;

(b) a committee for Wales to be known as the Welsh Consumer Council or, in Welsh, Cyngor Defnyddwyr Cymru;

(c) a committee for Northern Ireland to be known as the Northern Ireland Postal Services Committee.

(3) In this Part references to a "territorial committee" are to a committee established under subsection (2).

(4) Schedule 1 is about the Council and its territorial committees.

2 The territorial committees

(1) The territorial committees may exercise, on behalf of the Council, the following functions--

(a) in the case of the Scottish Consumer Council, the Council's functions under sections 8 to 17, 19 and 21 to 26, so far as they are exercisable in relation to Scotland;

(b) in the case of the Welsh Consumer Council, the Council's functions under those sections, so far as they are exercisable in relation to Wales;

(c) in the case of the Northern Ireland Postal Services Committee--

(i) the Council's functions under sections 8 to 12, 15 to 17, 19, 21 and 23 to 26 so far as they are exercisable in relation to Northern Ireland, and

(ii) the Council's functions under section 22 so far as they are exercisable in relation to consumer matters which relate to relevant postal services in relation to Northern Ireland.

(2) For the purpose of facilitating or improving co-ordination in relation to the carrying out of its functions, the Council may from time to time--

(a) impose restrictions or conditions on the exercise by a territorial committee of a function by virtue of subsection (1);

(b) give a territorial committee general or specific directions relating to the exercise of a function by virtue of that subsection.

(3) Nothing in subsection (1) prevents the Council from exercising any of its functions referred to in that subsection.

(4) A territorial committee also has the following purposes--

(a) the provision of advice and information to the Council about consumer matters affecting the area for which the committee is established,

(b) the provision of advice to the Council about the exercise of the Council's functions in so far as they affect that area, and

(c) such other purposes as the Council may determine (including the exercise of any functions delegated to the committee under paragraph 23 of Schedule 1).



"Consumer", "consumer matters" and "designated consumers"

3 "Consumer" and "consumer matters"

(1) In this Part "consumer" and "consumer matters" have the meaning given by this section.

(2) "Consumer" means--

(a) a person who purchases, uses or receives, in Great Britain, goods or services which are supplied in the course of a business carried on by the person supplying or seeking to supply them, or

(b) a person who purchases, uses or receives relevant postal services in Northern Ireland.

(3) "Consumer" includes both an existing consumer and a future consumer.

(4) For the purposes of subsection (2)--

(a) a person who uses services includes, in relation to relevant postal services, an addressee;

(b) "goods" includes land or an interest in land;

(c) "business" includes a profession and the activities of any government department, local or public authority or other public body.

(5) "Consumer matters" means--

(a) the interests of consumers, and

(b) any matter connected with those interests.

4 "Designated consumers"

(1) In this Part "designated consumers" means--

(a) consumers in relation to gas conveyed through pipes or electricity conveyed by distribution systems or transmission systems, and

(b) consumers in relation to relevant postal services.

(2) The Secretary of State may, by order, amend subsection (1) so as--

(a) to make any description of consumers within subsection (3) "designated consumers" for the purposes of this Part;

(b) to provide for any description of consumers to cease to be "designated consumers" for those purposes.

(3) The consumers within this subsection are consumers in England and Wales in relation to services provided by a water undertaker, a sewerage undertaker or a licensed water supplier, in its capacity as such.

(4) Before making an order under subsection (2), the Secretary of State must consult--

(a) the Council,

(b) in the case of a relevant order, the Scottish Ministers,

(c) the Welsh Ministers, and

(d) such other persons as the Secretary of State considers appropriate.

(5) For this purpose a "relevant order" is an order which relates to any description of--

(a) consumers in relation to gas conveyed through pipes or electricity conveyed by distribution systems or transmission systems, or

(b) consumers in relation to relevant postal services.



Determining priorities

5 Forward work programmes

(1) The Council must before each financial year publish a document (the "forward work programme") containing--

(a) a statement of any priorities of the Council for the year in relation to designated consumers generally or any description of designated consumers;

(b) a general description of the main activities (including any projects) which it plans to undertake during the year in relation to designated consumers generally or any description of designated consumers;

(c) a statement of any other priorities of the Council for the year;

(d) a general description of any other projects which it plans to undertake during the year (other than those comprising routine activities in the exercise of its functions).

(2) The description of a project under subsection (1)(b) or (d) must include the objectives of the project.

(3) The forward work programme for any year must also include--

(a) an estimate of the overall expenditure which the Council expects to incur during the year in the exercise of its functions, and

(b) an estimate of the expenditure (if any) which the Council expects to incur during the year in the exercise of its functions in relation to designated consumers.

(4) An estimate under subsection (3)(b) must identify the expenditure (if any) which the Council expects to incur in the exercise of its functions in relation to each of the following--

(a) consumers in relation to gas conveyed through pipes or electricity conveyed by distribution systems or transmission systems;

(b) consumers in relation to relevant postal services;

(c) consumers who are designated consumers by virtue of an order under section 4(2)(a).

(5) Before publishing the forward work programme for any year, the Council must publish a notice--

(a) containing a draft of the forward work programme, and

(b) specifying the period within which representations about the proposals contained in it may be made,

and must consider any representations which are duly made and not withdrawn.

(6) The notice under subsection (5) must be published by the Council in such manner as it considers appropriate for the purpose of bringing the matters contained in the notice to the attention of persons likely to have an interest in them.

(7) The Council must send a copy of any notice given by it under subsection (5) to--

(a) the Secretary of State,

(b) the Scottish Ministers,

(c) the Welsh Ministers,

(d) the Office of Fair Trading, and

(e) any regulatory body which the Council considers might have an interest in the content of the notice.

6 General provision about functions

(1) In exercising its functions the Council must comply with the requirements of this section.

(2) The Council must have regard to the forward work programme published under section 5.

(3) The Council must have regard to the interests of consumers in different areas.

(4) The Council must have regard to the interests of consumers that are one or more of the following--

(a) disabled or chronically sick individuals;

(b) individuals of pensionable age;

(c) individuals with low incomes;

(d) individuals residing in rural areas.

(5) But nothing in subsection (4) is to be taken as implying that regard may not be had to the interests of other descriptions of consumers.

(6) The Council must have regard to the need to use its resources in the most efficient and economic way.

(7) In discharging the duty imposed by subsection (6), the Council must take account of the existence of any other public bodies with the same functions as, or similar functions to, those of the Council and the activities carried on by such bodies.

(8) The Council must exercise its functions in the manner which it considers is best calculated to contribute to the achievement of sustainable development.

(9) Subject to section 13 (investigation of complaints relating to disconnection of gas or electricity), nothing in this Part imposes on the Council a duty to exercise any of its functions on behalf of or at the request of a particular consumer.

(10) A person is of pensionable age for the purposes of this section if--

(a) the person has attained pensionable age (within the meaning given by the rules in paragraph 1 of Schedule 4 to the Pensions Act 1995 (c. 26)), or

(b) in the case of a man born before 6 April 1955, he is the same age as a woman who has attained pensionable age (within the meaning so given).



Annual report

7 Annual report

(1) The Council must prepare a report for each financial year on its activities during the year ("the annual report").

(2) The annual report must--

(a) contain a report on the progress of the projects described in the Council's forward work programme for that year published under section 5,

(b) contain details of any activities undertaken in that year under section 22 (voluntary activities), and

(c) deal with such other matters as the Secretary of State may from time to time direct.

(3) As soon as reasonably practicable after the end of each financial year, the Council must send a copy of the annual report prepared for that year to--

(a) the Secretary of State,

(b) the Scottish Ministers, and

(c) the Welsh Ministers.

(4) The Secretary of State must lay a copy of the annual report before Parliament.

(5) The Council must arrange for the annual report to be published.



The core functions

8 The representative function

(1) The Council may--

(a) provide advice and information to persons within subsection (2) about consumer matters,

(b) make proposals to such persons about consumer matters, and

(c) represent the views of consumers on consumer matters to such persons.

(2) Those persons are--

(a) any Minister of the Crown or government department;

(b) the Scottish Ministers;

(c) the Welsh Ministers;

(d) any regulatory body established by or under an enactment;

(e) the European Commission or any other international organisation;

(f) any other person whom the Council considers might have an interest in the matter in question.

(3) In this section "enactment" means--

(a) an Act of Parliament,

(b) an Act of the Scottish Parliament,

(c) a Measure or Act of the National Assembly for Wales, or

(d) Northern Ireland legislation,

whenever passed or made.

9 The research function

The Council may obtain and keep under review--

(a) information about consumer matters,

(b) information about the views of consumers on consumer matters, and

(c) information of such other description as may be prescribed by the Secretary of State by order.

10 The information function

(1) The Council may facilitate the dissemination to consumers of advice and information--

(a) about the Council and its functions,

(b) about consumer matters, and

(c) about such other matters as may be prescribed by the Secretary of State by order.

(2) In exercising the power conferred by subsection (1) the Council may (among other things)--

(a) publish or otherwise make available information in any manner the Council thinks appropriate for the purpose of bringing it to the attention of those likely to be interested;

(b) support (financially or otherwise), facilitate or co-ordinate the activities of other persons.



Powers of investigation

<<<< >>>>

11 General powers of investigation

(1) The Council may investigate--

(a) a complaint made by or on behalf of a consumer which appears to the Council to raise one or more issues of general relevance;

(b) any matter which appears to the Council to be, or to be related to, a problem which affects or may affect consumers generally or consumers of a particular description.

(2) For this purpose, a complaint raises an issue of general relevance if it raises--

(a) a novel issue which affects or may affect consumers generally or consumers of a particular description, or

(b) any other issue which has or may have an important effect on consumers generally or consumers of a particular description.

12 Investigation of complaints made by vulnerable designated consumers

(1) Subsection (3) applies to a complaint which is made--

(a) by or on behalf of a vulnerable person in that person's capacity as a designated consumer ("the designated consumer"),

(b) against a person ("the supplier") who in the course of a business carried on by the supplier supplies or seeks to supply, or refuses to supply, goods or services to the designated consumer, and

(c) in respect of a matter connected with the supply of goods or services by the supplier to the designated consumer or a refusal by the supplier to supply goods or services to the designated consumer.

(2) For this purpose a person is "vulnerable" if the Council is satisfied that it is not reasonable to expect that person to pursue the complaint on that person's own behalf.

(3) Where a complaint to which this subsection applies is referred to the Council by or on behalf of the designated consumer, the Council may investigate the complaint for the purpose of determining whether it is appropriate to take any action under subsection (4).

(4) Where it appears to the Council to be appropriate to do so with a view to assisting in reaching a satisfactory resolution of a complaint referred to it under this section, the Council may--

(a) provide advice to the designated consumer or, if the complaint was made by another person on the designated consumer's behalf, that person;

(b) make representations on behalf of the designated consumer to the supplier about anything to which the complaint relates.

13 Investigation of complaints relating to disconnection of gas or electricity

(1) This section applies to--

(a) a complaint by a gas consumer against a gas transporter, in respect of the disconnection of, or a threat to disconnect, the consumer's premises by the gas transporter;

(b) a complaint by a gas consumer against a gas transporter, following such a disconnection, in respect of a refusal by the gas transporter to reconnect the premises;

(c) a complaint by a gas consumer against a gas supplier, in respect of the cutting off of, or a threat to cut off, a supply of gas to the consumer's premises by the gas supplier;

(d) a complaint by a gas consumer against a gas supplier, following such a cutting off, in respect of a refusal by the gas supplier to restore the supply to the premises;

(e) a complaint by a gas consumer against a gas supplier, in respect of the failure of a prepayment system;

(f) a complaint by an electricity consumer against an electricity supplier, an electricity distributor or a transmission licence holder, in respect of the disconnection of, or a threat to disconnect, the consumer's premises by the electricity supplier, electricity distributor or licence holder;

(g) a complaint by an electricity consumer against an electricity supplier, electricity distributor or transmission licence holder, following such a disconnection by the supplier, distributor or licence holder, in respect of a refusal by the supplier, distributor or licence holder to reconnect the premises;

(h) a complaint by an electricity consumer against an electricity supplier, in respect of the failure of a prepayment system.

(2) Where a complaint to which this section applies is referred to the Council by or on behalf of the complainant, the Council must investigate the complaint for the purpose of determining whether it is appropriate to take any action under subsection (3).

(3) Where it appears to the Council to be appropriate to do so with a view to assisting in reaching a satisfactory resolution of a complaint referred to it under this section, the Council must--

(a) provide advice to the complainant, or

(b) make representations on behalf of the complainant to the person against whom the complaint is made about anything to which the complaint relates.

(4) The Council may refuse to investigate a complaint, or part of a complaint, if--

(a) the complaint or part appears to the Council to be frivolous or vexatious;

(b) the complaint or part falls within a class of matter which a regulatory body is under a duty (whether imposed by or under an enactment or otherwise) to investigate;

(c) the complaint or part is being dealt with, or the Council is satisfied that it would be better dealt with, under an ombudsman scheme or any other redress scheme or in legal proceedings;

(d) the Council considers that there has been undue delay in the making of the complaint or part, or the provision of evidence to support it;

(e) the Council considers that there are other compelling reasons why it is inappropriate for the complaint or part to be investigated by the Council.

(5) The Council may refuse to investigate a complaint until the complainant has taken such steps as appear to the Council to be reasonable for the purpose of giving the person against whom the complaint is made a reasonable opportunity to deal with it.

(6) In subsection (1)--

(a) in paragraphs (a) and (b) "disconnection" in relation to any premises, means disconnection from a main of a gas transporter or the discontinuation of the conveyance of gas to the premises;

(b) in paragraphs (b), (d) and (g), the references to a gas consumer or electricity consumer are references to a person who was such a consumer at the time the disconnection of, or cutting off of the supply to, the premises occurred;

(c) in paragraphs (e) and (h), references to the failure of a prepayment system are references to--

(i) a failure in the facilities for payment for the supply of gas or electricity which results in a consumer with a prepayment meter being unable to make a payment for the supply of gas or electricity, or

(ii) where a payment has been made for the supply of gas or electricity through a prepayment meter, a case where the supply is not given through the prepayment meter because of a defect in the meter or in the facilities for payment.

(7) In this section--

  • "electricity consumer" means an individual who is a consumer in relation to electricity supplied by an authorised supplier;

  • "enactment" means--

    (a)

    an Act of Parliament,

    (b)

    an Act of the Scottish Parliament, or

    (c)

    a Measure or Act of the National Assembly for Wales,

    whenever passed or made;

  • "gas consumer" means an individual who is a consumer in relation to gas supplied by an authorised supplier;

  • "the consumer's premises"--

    (a)

    in relation to an electricity consumer, means the premises to which the electricity supplied to the consumer by the authorised supplier is supplied;

    (b)

    in relation to a gas consumer, means the premises to which the gas supplied to the consumer is conveyed by the gas transporter;

  • "redress scheme" means a scheme under which complaints may be made to, and investigated and determined by, an independent person.

14 Reference of matters to the Gas and Electricity Markets Authority

(1) In this section references to a complaint are to a complaint within section 11(1)(a) or to which section 12(3) or 13 applies.

(2) Where it appears to the Council that a complaint relates to a matter in respect of which any of the Authority's enforcement functions may be exercisable, the Council must refer the complaint to the Authority unless it is satisfied that the Authority is already aware of the matter.

(3) Where a complaint to which section 13 applies is referred to the Authority under subsection (2), the Council is not required to investigate the complaint under subsection (2) of that section until the Authority has had a reasonable opportunity to exercise its enforcement functions in relation to the matter to which the complaint relates.

(4) On investigating a complaint, the Council must inform the complainant if it considers that the complaint relates to a matter of a kind which can be referred by the complainant to the Authority under any provision of the Gas Act 1986 (c. 44) or the Electricity Act 1989 (c. 29).

(5) In this section--

Pages: P.1 | P.2 | P.3 | P.4 | P.5 | P.6 | P.7

-- Back--

<<<< >>>>

Stat




Search
Popular article
Advert