New Consumer Protection Reforms

The 25th April 2023, saw the publication of the long – awaited Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill (“the Bill”). The Bill introduces a raft of new rules seeking to regulate the digital sector.

Amongst other things, the Bill seeks to replace the current UK Legislation that controls unfair practices (and the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulation 2008). It also introduces new rules relating to online subscription contracts.

Any business seeking to offer consumer subscriptions will need to adhere to the following rules;

1. Provide consumers with clearer pre – contractual information (covering things such as length of contract term, costs both during and following any introductory period, the minimum total amount which the consumer will be liable for under the contract and how the contract can be cancelled);
2. Receive the consumers express acknowledgement that the contract imposes an obligation to make payments to the business if entered into on – line;
3. Honour the consumers 14 day – statutory right to cancel the agreement from the date of sign up, first renewal following any introductory period and again on the renewal of an annual contract;
4. Provide consumers with a reminder that a free trial or low – cost introductory period is coming to and end and a reminder before the contact automatically renews;
5. Ensure consumers can exit the contract easily without involving any unnecessary administration;
6. Provide a consumer that has cancelled with an end of contract notice.

If the Bill is passed unchanged, Businesses offering subscriptions should review their contractual documentation to ensure that it complies with these new requirements.

This article is provided for educational and information purposes only. It is not intended as, and should not be construed to be, legal advice.

This article was published on the 23rd May 2023.