Government unveils consumer protection package

THE GOVERNMENT announced last week a package of measures designed to protect the consumer from financial abuses.

One of the alterations anticipated is a change in the way parking meters are operated. Instead of charging motorists a flat rate fee per hour, the machines will be recalibrated in 15-minute time slots giving the public the choice to pay for the time they use the parking facility.

Also, companies offering credit or higher purchase facilities will have to clearly state all the conditions and not leave them hidden in the small print.

The insurance industry has also come under tighter control to protect both sides. Now accidents have to be reported and claims processed within eight working days. Those insured will have 30 days to sort out responsibility – a period which should be reduced when an amicable agreement is reached.

The measures announced by the Secretary of State for Commerce, Services and Consumer Defence will come into force in 2007.