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Enterprise Act 2002

Section 19: Claims on behalf of consumers

81.This section inserts a new section 47B in CA 1998 that enables proceedings comprising claims for damages under section 47A to be brought in a representative capacity by a specified body on behalf of a group of named individual consumers.

82.The new section 47B(1) , (3) and (4) enable such claims to be made on behalf of any group of two or more consumers, provided that each consumer has given his or her consent, and the claims relate to the same infringement. 47B(3) also permits, under the same conditions, existing claims to be taken over by such a specified body. Such proceedings may only be made by a body that is specified by the Secretary of State under section 47B(9), and on behalf of persons who are claiming as consumers within the meaning given by sections 47B(2), (7) and (8). In particular, the infringement that is relied upon must affect goods or services that were received (or sought to be received) by the claimant otherwise than in the course of his or her business.

83.The new section 47B(6) provides that all sums awarded under this section must be awarded directly to the represented consumers, who will then be able to enforce the award in accordance with paragraphs 2 to 5 of Schedule 4. It also allows the CAT to order that the sum awarded be paid to the representative body who will then be able to enforce the award on behalf of the individuals in accordance with paragraphs 4(c) or 5(c) of Schedule 4. Such an order may only be made with the consent of both the individuals concerned and the representative body.

84.The new section 47B(7) and (8) sets out the conditions that must apply before an individual can be said to be a ‘consumer’ for the purposes of a consumer claim under this section. The infringement must have affected goods or services that the individual has received (or sought to receive) otherwise than in the course of business (although this will not exclude those received for the purposes of a future business). Conversely, the goods or services must have been supplied (or, had they been obtainable, would have been supplied) by a person acting in the course of business. A typical example will be where a consumer has bought goods for his or her own use, whose price has been inflated by a price-fixing agreement either among the suppliers themselves, or the manufacturers, or possibly among the manufacturers’ own suppliers.

85.The new section 47B(9) gives the Secretary of State the power to specify by order, and in accordance with published criteria, the bodies that are permitted to bring a representative claim. Such orders will be subject to negative Parliamentary procedure as specified in section 71 of the CA 1998.

86.The new section 47B(10) provides that a body wishing to be specified for the purposes of this section must make an application in a form approved by the Secretary of State.

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