A smiling carer chats with an elderly lady

A new Bill to strengthen consumer rights

A new Consumer Bill of Rights was announced by Consumer Minister Edward Davey last week which aims to clarify and strengthen consumer law and provide additional protection for vulnerable people.

Consumers are currently protected by a variety of laws and regulations which often overlap and can be complicated or confusing. The government proposes that the new Bill will provide a single place for all consumer rights, which will be published in plain English, making it easier for people to find and understand their rights and therefore enforce them.

The government says the Bill will provide much stronger protection for vulnerable people against aggressive practices, such as

ï§ implying a connection with social services or an old age charity; ï§ preying on an elderly person’s fear of losing their independence; ï§ writing out cheques or an order form for the victim; and ï§ salespersons refusing to leave the premises until they have secured a sale.

The Bill also proposes that victims should have a clear time in which to unwind the contract, which will extend beyond the default cancellation period currently in place.

Consultation on the new Consumer Bill of Rights is expected to take place in late 2011 or early 2012.

Any protection for elderly and vulnerable people is welcome.