(1) Where the bailee of goods accepted before the commencement of this Act for repair or other treatment does not at the commencement of this Act know any address of the bailor, the bailee shall not be disentitled to sell the goods by reason only that paragraphs (b)and (c) of subsection (3) of section one of this Act are not complied with, if the following provisions are complied with, that is to say—
(2) Where the provisions of the last foregoing subsection are complied with in relation to any goods, the bailee shall, notwithstanding anything in subsection (3) of section one of this Act, be entitled to sell them otherwise than by public auction, and paragraph (ii) of the proviso to the said subsection (3) shall not apply in relation to those goods.
(3) Where goods are sold by virtue of the fact that the foregoing provisions of this section have been complied with, the foregoing sections of this Act shall have effect in relation to the goods subject to the following modifications, that is to say—
(4) A notice under paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of this section in relation to any goods must contain—
(5) Where the bailee of goods accepted be fore the commencement of this Act for repair or other treatment does not at the commencement of this Act know any address of the bailor and at any time during the period of thirteen months beginning with the commencement of this Act a dispute arises between the bailor and the bailee by reason of either or both of the matters mentioned in subsection (4) of section one of this Act, the foregoing provisions of this section shall not apply in relation to the goods, but the foregoing sections of this Act shall apply in relation thereto as they apply in a case where a dispute arises between the bailor and the bailee before the giving of the notice of the bailee's intention to sell the goods.—[Miss Burton.]
I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."
This new Clause is in the names of my hon. Friends and myself. Perhaps I may say "my hon. Friends," although it includes hon. Members from the other side of the House, because the Bill has received support from both sides. The Bill speaks of a "bailor" and a "bailee," which are of course legal terms. But I propose to refer, as I have done on previous occasions, because I think it is very much simpler, to the bailor as the customer and the bailee as the trader.
This Clause deals with those cases where goods have been accepted by a trader for repair or for other treatment before the date when the Act comes into force, and where the trader does not then know the address of the customer. As amended in Committee the Bill provides a number of safeguards for the customer among which are the requirements that a trader must in order to acquire a right of sale under the Bill have informed the customer that the goods are ready for re-delivery and that, at a later date, he intends to sell them.
A trader can comply with this requirement only if he knows the address of the customer, and the House will realise that while in future he will have to obtain that address before he can take advantage of the Bill, it would be most unreasonable to prevent him from taking advantage of it in those cases, which are numerous and which I would remind the House do cause considerable hardship, where he does not know the address because he never had any reason to take it.
Although the safeguards provided in the Bill for other cases do not apply, the Clause, which I will now explain, does contain other safeguards designed to protect the customer. If we consider subsection (1), for a trader to have the right to sell the goods to which the Clause applies, in the first place he must, within one month of the date when the Act comes into force publish,
in a newspaper circulating in the locality where the goods were accepted for repair or other treatment a notice complying with the requirements of Subsection (4) of this Section
In the second place, where the trader has premises which he uses for the purpose of accepting for repair or other treatment goods of the kind he proposes to sell, he must display in those premises a notice to the effect that he proposes to take advantage of the Act for the purpose of selling goods of that kind. This notice must be put up not later than one month after the Act comes into force, and must remain exhibited for a further
12 months or for so long during that period as the premises are used for that purpose. At least 13 months must pass from the date when the Act comes into force before the trader may sell the goods.
Subsection (2) provides that in those cases with which this Clause deals, the goods need not be sold by public auction. In all other cases to which the Bill applies the sale has to be by public auction, unless in his notice of intention to sell the goods the trader has told the customer of the price at which he proposes to sell them. Then he can sell them in other ways for not less than that price. Since, in cases with which this Clause deals, the trader does not know the address of the customer, he obviously cannot give notice of his intention to sell the goods. Therefore, apart from this subsection, he would have to sell them by public auction. Many of the goods are of a kind which it would not only be difficult to sell by public auction, but unreasonably expensive. Therefore this subsection allows him to sell them in other ways.
Subsection (3) alters the procedure before sale. Some of the previous provisions have to be modified to fit in with the new procedure, and this subsection provides for those modifications.
Subsection (4) sets out the information that a trader must put in the notice published in the newspaper. Subsection (5) provides that, if within 13 months of the coming into force of the Act, a dispute arises between the trader and the customer as to whether the charges are excessive or the work has not been properly carried out, this Clause shall no longer apply to the goods, and the trader will have to follow the ordinary procedure provided in the Bill.
If a dispute arises, the trader will be able to find out the address of the customer. There is, therefore, no reason why the Bill should not apply to him in such a case as it applies in any other case where he knows the address of the customer.