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Consumer Rights Bill – Students as Vulnerable Consumers

January 29th, 2014 · No Comments

Public Bill Committees – Scrutiny Unit

CALL FOR WRITTEN EVIDENCE FOR CONSUMER RIGHTS BILL

I have emailed the Public Bill Committee and asked the following question:

I am writing to ask if I can make a written submission asking for university students to be designated ‘vulnerable consumers’ with regard to  Section 4 of the Act.

The reason being that current arrangements for complaint are generally administered by the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education known as the OIA. However, with regard to issues of student finance Rule 8.1.3 applies The complaint would be better considered in another forum.

“We may terminate or suspend our review of a complaint if it would be more appropriate for the issues to be considered by another specialist forum. For example, it might be more appropriate for certain issues of finance and credit to be considered by the Financial Ombudsman Service.”  http://www.oiahe.org.uk/media/42281/guidance-note-scheme-eligibility-march-2013.pdf

I understand that consumer law still applies to higher education institutions.

The OIA was set up in March 2004, since then there has been a massive increase in student tuition fees and globalised commercial competition for student places. The rights of students as consumers has failed to keep up with this change and what would be appropriate in 2004 has now become ‘unfair’ in a tough global market place. Massive debts without an appropriate system of redress makes students vulnerable to bullying and sometimes worse.

I would be grateful if you would consider a submission on this issue.

The reply was

“Hello Trevor,

The committee released a press notice this morning asking for written evidence which I have included below as it hasn’t yet made it to the website, so please see that for details. The Committee can accept written evidence on any aspect of the bill so please do submit something.”

If you have been ‘vulnerable’ with no chance of a resolution because it was beyond the scope of the OIA, current procedures were perverted or inadequate, or that you were too traumatised to pursue a complaint, bullied or vistimised, or threatened at a UK university please write in and submit evidence.

Public Bill Committees – Scrutiny Unit
Room G10, 7 Millbank
House of Commons London SW1A 0AA
Tel 020 7219 8387 Fax 020 7219 8381
Email scrutiny@parliament.uk
Website www.parliament.uk/scrutiny

29 January 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Call for written evidence: Consumer Rights Bill

Do you have relevant expertise and experience or a special interest in the Government’s Consumer Rights Bill?

If so, you can submit your views in writing to the House of Commons Public Bill Committee which is going to consider this Bill.

Aims of the Bill

The Bill is designed to set out a framework that consolidates in one place key consumer rights covering contracts for goods, services, digital content and the law relating to unfair terms in consumer contracts. The Bill also introduces easier routes for consumers and small and medium enterprises (‘SMEs’) to challenge anti-competitive behaviour through the Competition Appeal Tribunal (‘CAT’). In addition, the Bill would consolidate and simplify enforcers’ powers as listed in Schedule 5 to investigate potential breaches of consumer law and clarifies that certain enforcers (Trading Standards) can operate across local authority boundaries. Finally, the Bill would give the civil courts and public enforcers greater flexibility to take the most appropriate action for consumers when dealing with breaches or potential breaches of consumer law.

The Bill can be viewed on the Parliamentary website:

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/cbill/2013-2014/0161/cbill_2013-20140161_en_1.htm

The Explanatory Notes on the Bill are also available:

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/cbill/2013-2014/0161/en/14161en.htm

On Tuesday 28 January the House of Commons debated the main principles of the Bill. The Bill has now been sent to the Public Bill Committee for scrutiny.

Deadline for submissions

The Public Bill Committee is now able to receive written evidence. The sooner you send in your submission, the more time the Committee will have to take it into consideration. The Committee is expected to meet for the first time on Tuesday 11 February; it will stop receiving written evidence at the end of the Committee stage on Thursday 13 March.[1]

[1] When the Committee reports it is no longer able to receive written evidence and it can report earlier than Thursday 13 March.

Guidance on submitting written evidence

What should written evidence cover?

Your submission should address matters contained within the Bill and concentrate on issues where you have a special interest or expertise, and factual information of which you would like the Committee to be aware. It is helpful if the submission includes a brief introduction about you or your organisation. The submission should not have been previously published or circulated elsewhere. If you have any concerns about your submission, please contact the Scrutiny Unit (details below).

How should written evidence be submitted?

Your submission should be emailed to scrutiny@parliament.uk. Please note that submissions sent to the Government department in charge of the Bill will not be treated as evidence to the Public Bill Committee.

Submissions should be in the form of a Word document. A summary should be provided. Paragraphs should be numbered, but there should be no page numbering. Essential statistics or further details can be added as annexes, which should also be numbered. To make publication easier, please avoid the use of coloured graphs, complex diagrams or pictures. As a guideline, submissions should not exceed 3,000 words.

Please include in the covering email the name, address, telephone number and email address of the person responsible for the submission. The submission should be dated.

What will happen to my evidence?

The written evidence will be circulated to all Committee Members to inform their consideration of the Bill. Most submissions will also be published on the internet as soon as possible after the Committee has started sitting.

The Scrutiny Unit can help with any queries about written evidence. Contact details are as follows:

Telephone: 020 7219 8387, Email: scrutiny@parliament.uk Fax: 020 7219 8381, Post: Michelle Wenham, Senior Executive Officer, Scrutiny Unit, 7 Millbank, London SW1P 3JA.



[1] When the Committee reports it is no longer able to receive written evidence and it can report earlier than Thursday 13 March.

Tags: Students as Vulnerable Consumers · Consumer Rights Bill