Congratulations to the OFT for withdrawing support for the Consumer Code.
Rod MacEachrane of the Consumer Code for Housebuilders says 95% of claims in housebuilder disputes are below £15,000 (19 March, page 15). If this is the case, one would expect housebuilders to resolve them without quibbling, turning to the warranty provider, legal advisers or the small claims court. There should be little need for a Consumer Code covering such claims.
Contrary to MacEachrane’s comment, it is the 5% of house purchasers with claims between £15,000 and £150,000 who need protection from a Consumer Code. These are the purchasers who will experience stress, disruption and confrontation. Clearly, the OFT recognises this point.
MacEachrane is promoting an anti-consumer stance and encouraging cowboy builders. If a builder constructs a house with minor defects, the purchaser may seek redress under the terms of the Consumer Code. If the builder is a cowboy and constructs a house with major defects, rectification will exceed the limit covered by the Consumer Code.
The message to all housebuilders is clear. Make sure your defects are big ones and you can sleep peacefully knowing the Consumer Code is protecting you.
We are still living in an era where there is more consumer protection when buying a tin of beans from a supermarket than there is when buying a new home. Clearly MacEachrane wishes to keep it this way.
I live in hope that one day house purchasers may receive some real consumer protection. Being a realist, I know it will never happen.