Consumer Credit Act 1974

Publication Date:January 01, 1974
 
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Consumer Credit Act 1974

1974 CHAPTER 39

An Act to establish for the protection of consumers a new system, administered by the Director General of Fair Trading, of licensing and other control of traders concerned with the provision of credit, or the supply of goods on hire or hire-purchase, and their transactions, in place of the present enactments regulating moneylenders, pawnbrokers and hire-purchase traders and their transactions; and for related matters.

[31st July 1974]

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:—

I Director General of Fair Trading

Part I

Director General of Fair Trading

S-1 General functions of Director.

1 General functions of Director.

(1) It is the duty of the Director General of Fair Trading (‘the Director’)—

(a ) to administer the licensing system set up by this Act

(b ) to exercise the adjudicating functions conferred on him by this Act in relation to the issue, renewal, variation suspension and revocation of licences, and other matters

(c ) generally to superintend the working and enforcement of this Act, and regulations made under it, and

(d ) where necessary or expedient, himself to take steps to enforce this Act, and regulations so made.

(2) It is the duty of the Director, so far as appears to him to be practicable and having regard, both to the national interest and the interests of persons carrying on businesses to which this Act applies and their customers, to keep under review and from time to time advise the Secretary of State about—

(a ) social and commercial developments in the United Kingdom and elsewhere relating to the provision of credit or bailment or (in Scotland) hiring of goods to individuals, and related activities; and

(b ) the working and enforcement of this Act and orders and regulations made under it.

S-2 Powers of Secretary of State.

2 Powers of Secretary of State.

(1) The Secretary of State may by order—

(a ) confer on the Director additional functions concerning the provision of credit or bailment or (in Scotland) hiring of goods to individuals, and related activities and

(b ) regulate the carrying out by the Director of his functions under this Act.

(2) The Secretary of State may give general directions indicating considerations to which the Director should have particular regard in carrying out his functions under this Act, and may give specific directions on any matter connected with the carrying out by the Director of those functions.

(3) The Secretary of State, on giving any directions under subsection (2), shall arrange for them to be published in such manner as he thinks most suitable for drawing them to the attention of interested persons.

(4) With the approval of the Secretary of State and the Treasury, the Director may charge, for any service or facility provided by him under this Act, a fee of an amount specified by general notice (the ‘specified fee’).

(5) Provision may be made under subsection (4) for reduced fees, or no fees at all, to be paid for certain services or facilities by persons of a specified description, and references in this Act to the specified fee shall, in such cases, be construed accordingly.

(6) An order under subsection (1)(a ) shall be made by statutory instrument and shall be of no effect unless a draft of the order has been laid before and approved by each House of Parliament.

(7) References in subsection (2) to the functions of the Director under this Act do not include the making of a determination to which section 41 or 150 (appeals from Director to Secretary of State) applies.

S-3 Supervision by Council on Tribunals.

3 Supervision by Council on Tribunals.

The Tribunals and Inquiries Act 1971is amended as follows (the amendments bringing the adjudicating functions of the Director under this Act under the supervision of the Council on Tribunals)—

a ) in section 8(2), insert ‘5A’ after ‘paragraph’;
b ) in section 19(4), insert ‘or the Director General of Fair Trading referred to in paragraph 5A’ after ‘or 46’;
c ) in Schedule 1, after paragraph 5, insert—
S-5A

5A ‘Consumer credit

5A. The Director General of Fair Trading, in respect of his functions under the Consumer Credit Act 1974 (c. 39), and any member of the Director's staff authorised to exercise those functions under paragraph 7 of Schedule 1 to the Fair Trading Act 1973.’

S-4 Dissemination of information and advice.

4 Dissemination of information and advice.

The Director shall arrange for the dissemination, in such form and manner as he considers appropriate, of such information and advice as it may appear to him expedient to give to the public in the United Kingdom about the operation of this Act, the credit facilities available to them, and other matters within the scope of his functions under this Act.

S-5 Annual and other reports.

5 Annual and other reports.

At the end of subsection (2) of section 125 (annual and other reports of Director) of the Fair Trading Act 1973 insert ‘and shall set out any directions given to the Director under section 2(2) of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 during that year’.

S-6 Form etc. of applications.

6 Form etc. of applications.

(1) An application to the Director under this Act is of no effect unless the requirements of this section are satisfied.

(2) The application must be in writing, and in such form, and accompanied by such particulars, as the Director may specify by general notice, and must be accompanied by the specified fee.

(3) After giving preliminary consideration to an application, the Director may by notice require the applicant to furnish him with such further information relevant to the application as may be described in the notice, and may require any information furnished by the applicant (whether at the time of the application or subsequently) to be verified in such manner as the Director may stipulate.

(4) The Director may by notice require the applicant to publish details of his application at a time or times and in a manner specified in the notice.

S-7 Penalty for false information.

7 Penalty for false information.

A person who, in connection with any application or request to the Director under this Act, or in response to any invitation or requirement of the Director under this Act, knowingly or recklessly gives information to the Director which, in a material particular, is false or misleading, commits an offence.

II Credit Agreements, Hire Agreements and Linked Transactions

Part II

Credit Agreements, Hire Agreements and Linked Transactions

S-8 Consumer credit agreements.

8 Consumer credit agreements.

(1) A personal credit agreement is an agreement between an individual (‘the debtor’) and any other person (‘the creditor’) by which the creditor provides the debtor with credit of any amount.

(2) A consumer credit agreement is a personal credit agreement by which the creditor provides the debtor with credit not exceeding 5,000.

(3) A consumer credit agreement is a regulated agreement within the meaning of this Act if it is not an agreement (an ‘exempt agreement’) specified in or under section 16.

S-9 Meaning of credit.

9 Meaning of credit.

(1) In this Act ‘credit’ includes a cash loan, and any other form of financial accommodation.

(2) Where credit is provided otherwise than in sterling it shall be treated for the purposes of this Act as provided in sterling of an equivalent amount.

(3) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1), the person by whom goods are bailed or (in Scotland) hired to an individual under a hire-purchase agreement shall be taken to provide him with fixed-sum credit to finance the transaction of an amount equal to the total price of the goods less the aggregate of the deposit (if any) and the total charge for credit.

(4) For the purposes of this Act, an item entering into the total charge for credit shall not be treated as credit even though time is allowed for its payment.

S-10 Running-account credit and fixed-sum credit.

10 Running-account credit and fixed-sum credit.

(1) For the purposes of this Act—

(a ) running-account credit is a facility under a personal credit agreement whereby the debtor is enabled to receive from time to time (whether in his own person or by another person) from the creditor or a third party cash, goods and services (or any of them) to an amount or value such that, taking into account payments made by or to the credit of the debtor, the credit limit (if any) is not at any time exceeded; and

(b ) fixed-sum credit is...

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