Consumer Credit Act 2006: A Guide to The New Law
Published: August 2006
Publisher: Law Society Publishing
Country of Publication: UK
Despatched in 4 to 6 days.
The Consumer Credit Act 2006 marks the final stage of the most significant reform of domestic consumer credit law in almost 30 years. The Act amends the Consumer Credit Act 1974 with the principal aim of improving the regulation of consumer credit and consumer hire businesses, whilst at the same time providing better protection and remedies for the consumer. Legal professionals in the field will find this to be an indispensable guide to the new provisions.
It offers a clear explanation of how the new law will affect businesses and includes both a copy of the new Act and the Consumer Credit Act 1974 as amended. The Act, expected to come into force in 2007, aims to protect vulnerable consumers and to create a fairer and more competitive credit market by:-
- creating new powers for courts to redress the balance in 'unfair relationships' between debtors and creditors, making it easier for people to obtain some assistance from the court when they suffer the consequences of unfair lending practices
- extending the powers of the financial ombudsman to investigate complaints brought by consumers in relation to consumer credit and consumer hire and to make rulings capable of enforcement by the courts
- compelling creditors to keep debtors informed about the state of their accounts, particularly in relation to arrears
- restricting the charges that may be made in the event of default
- giving the OFT greater powers to regulate the industry, including powers to impose sanctions other than the removal of licences.
The new measures have implications for all businesses that enter into credit, hire or hire purchase agreements, whatever the size of the loan or the cost of the hire or hire purchase. The removal of the financial limit of £25,000 for regulated agreements will mean that more businesses will be affected by all the provisions of the 1974 Act.
For all credit, hire and hire purchase businesses with customers who are individuals or partnerships consisting of two or three persons, there will be new rules to follow. The new provisions relating to unfair relationships are not limited to regulated agreements but will apply in respect of most loans to individuals or small partnerships.