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Contractual Estoppel May Apply in Business Leasing

The High Court has recently held that a party who made contractual representations as to the validity of an aircraft lease was contractually estopped from subsequently alleging that the agreement was invalid.

In Wallis Trading Inc v Air Tanzania Company Limited  [2020] EWHC 339 (Comm) the lessee (Air Tanzania) made certain representations including that the lease was legal and valid, and that it had obtained all required authorisations and consents to enable it to enter into and perform the lease. Air Tanzania later argued that the lease was invalid because (among other things) it had failed to comply with Tanzanian public procurement laws.

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No More SECCI

The Consumer Credit (Disclosure of Information) Regulations 2010 have been amended so that references to “SECCI” (the Standard European Consumer Credit Information) are deleted – the documents shall now simply be known as the Pre-Contract Credit Information.

However, there is no substantive change to the contents of the document.

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Hire Purchase Customer sues Supplier

The title of this article does not quite rise to the level of “Man Bites Dog”, but it refers to a rather unusual case which was reported recently and which provides a welcome albeit relatively unusual example of a dissatisfied customer accepting its liability under Hire Purchase Agreements and seeking its remedy against the supplier of the defective equipment.

New York Laser Clinic Limited v Naturastudios Limited [2019] EWHC 2892 (QB) involved the supply of a large quantity of laser equipment to the claimant for use in its laser hair removal business, following oral representations made by the supplier as to the performance of the equipment upon which the claimant made detailed profit projections which formed the basis of its business case put to 3 financiers.

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FCA to require improved Commission Disclosure

One of the more nebulous provisions of CONC which has led to widely different interpretations in practice has been the rule relating to the disclosure of commission found at 4.5.3 which currently provides as follows:

“A credit broker must disclose to a customer in good time before a credit agreement or a consumer hire agreement is entered into, the existence of any commission or fee or other remuneration payable to the credit broker by the lender or owner or a third party in relation to a credit agreement or a consumer hire agreement, where knowledge of the existence or amount of the commission could actually or potentially:

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FCA to ban discretionary commission models in Motor Finance

On a separate but related note, the FCA’s October 2019 report has proposed a ban on commission models within the motor finance industry where the amount received by the broker is linked to the interest rate paid by the customer where the broker has the power to set or adjust this interest rate.

The FCA refers to these as “discretionary commission models”, which have a number of variations, but in essence the empirical evidence unearthed by the FCA’s enquiries strongly suggest that these discretionary commission models significantly disadvantaged customers compared to flat fee models of remuneration. The ban will be limited to regulated consumer credit agreements and will not extend to consumer hire.

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