A better deal for consumers: delivering real help now and change for the future

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Stationery Office, Jul 2, 2009 - Business & Economics - 103 pages
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This White Paper sets out the Government's approach to financial and other consumer markets, particularly in the context of the major challenges created by the global financial crisis and the economic downturn. It focuses on four key themes: real help now for vulnerable consumers; a new approach to consumer credit; empowering consumers through better enforcement and information' modernising consumer law. The help is designed to keep people in their homes, help those in difficulty with debt, tackle poor practice by business and assist vulnerable consumers to cope with essential bills. With a current figure of 230 billion of consumer debt, action is needed to help people keep their finances on a solid footing without taking on unsustainable levels of debt. Measures will include: regulation of credit and store cards; implementation of the EU Consumer Credit Directive; a review of OFT of high cost credit markets. Better enforcement will aim to encourage responsible business to compensate consumers appropriately, improve the effectiveness of consumer education and awareness campaigns and provide a facility for collective actions to be taken on behalf of consumers. Actions in this area will include: a specialist team for internet enforcement on consumer issues; a Consumer Advocate to co-ordinate education of consumers; a mechanism to recover money from overseas scams; stronger penalties for rogue traders; a Consumer Rights Campaign. The modernisation of consumer law is based on the Consumer Law Review (DBERR, 2008). Consumer rights should be clear in law and simple to understand. Law must fit the modern marketplace and be suited to new ways of buying and selling. A new Consumer Rights Bill will be introduced.

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