Customers are legally entitled to be given certain information before entering into a finance agreement.
For most regulated credit agreements firms are required to provide this information in a format which captures the key features of the proposed credit agreement. The format is prescribed in the Consumer Credit Directive and set out in the Consumer Credit (Disclosure of Information) Regulations 2010. It is known as the Standards European Consumer Credit Information Form (SECCI).
Lenders must provide all of the information set out in the SECCI as a minimum: they may provide additional information to potential customers on a separate information sheet.
For regulated consumer hire agreements, and some regulated credit agreements, the form and content of the pre-contract information is prescribed by the Consumer Credit (Disclosure of Information) Regulations 2004. This usually requires pre-contract disclosure (taking the customer through the SECCI) before the customer signs or approves the agreement.
The pre-contract information must be provided in “good time” before the customer becomes bound by the agreement. The definition of “In good time” is likely to mean that the finance provider cannot unreasonably delay the provision of pre-contractual information and that the customer must have the opportunity to take the information linked to a proposed regulated agreement away for further consideration. The customer is not obliged to take the SECCI away if he/she wants to proceed with an application straightaway.
All contractual information must be presented to customers in a clear and concise way.