30 Apr 2012

Commission wants some items banned from repossession

10:44 pm on 30 April 2012

The repossession of bedding and heaters could be banned under changes to repossession law recommended by the Law Commission.

The commission has consulted banks, debt collectors and consumer groups as part of the Government's review of consumer credit law.

It says its proposals would make repossession laws fairer and transparent for all parties.

The commission suggests only goods specified as security in a credit contract could be repossessed, not including items such as bedding, heaters and washing machines.

Debt collectors would be licensed and excluded from the industry if they break repossession law.

The commission is recommending that the 1997 Repossession Act be repealed and that changes it is recommending be incorporated into the Government's proposed Consumer Contracts and Consumer Finance Act.

Law Commissioner Geoff McLay says the recommendations try to strike a balance between the rights of consumers and creditors.

"Our focus is very much on when things have gone wrong and when a repossession occurs, making sure that what is then repossessed is something which has been agreed prior might be repossessed.

"And making sure that if there's disputes about the amount owing that those disputes could be resolved before the repossession happens, and if the repossession is done badly that there be appropriate remedies and sanctions."