Protection law rattles card firms
Sunday 30 October 1994
The company, which had charged them pounds 2,200 for the work, could not be traced. 'When I tried to chase them, the premises were being used by a motor-cycle repairers,' Mrs Ketley said.
Fortunately, the Ketleys had paid for the work with their Barclaycard. In May Mrs Ketley contacted Barclays, asking for reimbursement and compensation. After a lengthy exchange of letters and a lot of persistence from the Ketleys, Barclays agreed to settle. They are to repay the original pounds 2,200 and a further pounds 500 towards the Ketleys' additional costs.
Mr and Mrs Ketley benefited from section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act - legislation described by Sonia Purser, a lawyer at the Consumers' Association, as 'one of the best pieces of consumer protection that there is'. However, credit industry representatives were at a public meeting in Edinburgh last month arranged by the Office of Fair Trading to discuss possible amendments to section 75. The OFT has been asked by the Government to review the Consumer Credit Act.
Section 75 applies to purchases on credit of more than pounds 100, with a current maximum set at credit advances of pounds 15,000. 'At the moment, credit card companies are jointly and severally liable with traders. This means that you can choose to claim against the trader or the credit card company,' Ms Purser said. The liability extends to cover additional costs you may incur on top of the original purchase price - so that you could have a legitimate claim, for example, for the cost of repairing damage caused by a faulty piece of equipment.
Not surprisingly, credit card companies are anxious to reduce their legal position to a 'second in line' liability. This would mean that consumers would first have to try to settle a claim with the supplier. Ms Purser says the Consumers' Association would regard this as an erosion of consumer protection. 'We find at the moment that credit card companies will put pressure on traders to pay up, and that's very useful. If they weren't jointly liable, consumers might have to sue traders before being able to go for the credit company,' she said.
Sir Bryan Carsberg, Director-General of Fair Trading, is currently weighing up the arguments for and against a move to 'second in line' liability.
However, the issue is already complicated by legal arguments about the current wording of the Act. In a long-running dispute, the credit card companies have attempted to claim that section 75 does not apply to purchases made abroad. They have also attempted to take advantage of the legal distinction between the credit card issuer and the merchant acquirer (the company that has arranged with a particular supplier to accept credit card payments).
In both cases Sir Bryan Carsberg has come out in favour of the view that section 75 protection to consumers fully applies. In the absence of case law, however, some credit card companies continue to raise objections. Ms Purser advises consumers with complaints to persevere. 'If people persist, credit card companies quite often will cave in. If they won't, and particularly if the amount of money is under the small claims arbitration limit of pounds 1,000, it's worth having a go through the county court.'
- 1 Home Office says Nigerian asylum-seeker can’t be a lesbian as she’s got children
- 2 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 3 Drugs Live cannabis trial: Hash is less harmful than any other drug, expert claims
- 4 Turkish Airlines flight TK 726 crash-lands on Nepal runway amid dense fog
- 5 Apple and Google users being spied on for a decade because of 'Freak' security flaw
The City of the Monkey God: Archaeologists claim to have found city lost for 1,000 years in remote Honduran jungle
Turkish Airlines flight TK 726 crash-lands on Nepal runway amid dense fog
Japanese island overrun with cats after population explodes
London property boom built on dirty money
Becky Watts: Stepbrother and his girlfriend named locally as two arrested on suspicion of murder
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
iJobs Money & Business
£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...
Voluntary post, reasonable expenses reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Would you ...
£36,000 - £40,000: Christine McCleave: Are you looking for a new opportunity a...
£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...