1 November 2023
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Raising the risk profile: How the new Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill may impact your consumer contracts in the UK

To The Point

This article provides an overview of the key changes to consumer law which are expected to come into force with the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill 2023 over the next few months in the UK, as well as a summary of the additional proposals put forward by the government in its recent consultation on consumer pricing. This article also sets out some practical steps that consumer-facing businesses should take to ensure that their consumer terms and sales practices are compliant with the new law.


The Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill (the Bill) sets out a number of long-awaited changes to consumer law. The Bill not only seeks to implement new consumer protection offences and duties in relation to fake reviews, subscription contract 'traps' and savings schemes, but it provides the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) with new powers to enforce consumer laws directly and to impose higher fines on businesses that fail to comply with the law. The Bill is currently making its way through Parliament and is expected to come into force in the next few months. 

In addition to the Bill, the government launched a consultation on 'Improving Price Transparency and Product Information for Consumers' (the Consultation) on 4 September 2023 which sets out further proposals for changes to consumer law. This Consultation has a particular focus on how the legislation that currently governs the way businesses display pricing to consumers may be reformed to provide greater pricing transparency to consumers.

In this article, we consider what the upcoming and proposed changes to consumer law will mean for businesses who contract with consumers, and how businesses can prepare to help ensure that they are compliant with the new law once the changes come into effect.

For more information about the wider impact of the Bill, please read our article on the UK's new Digital Markets, Competition & Consumer Bill in 5 minutes - what you need to know and do.

Enhanced enforcement powers
Subscription contract 'traps'
Saving schemes
Fake reviews
Government consultation on pricing transparency

Preparing For Change – What Should Businesses Do?

The Bill is a sea-change in risk and enforcement terms for clients, particularly in the R&C sector. Businesses have a small window in which to ensure that their consumer practices are in order and to ensure that they have appropriate risk management and investigation response procedures in place.

In preparation for the upcoming changes to consumer law, businesses should review their consumer terms and sales practices to ensure that they are compliant ahead of the Bill coming into force. In particular, for businesses operating with subscription contract models, subscription contract terms should be reviewed to ensure that they are compliant with the new rules and that they are clearly communicated to consumers before they are entered into. To the extent not already in place, businesses should put processes in place to notify consumers when their subscription contracts are up for renewal, providing them with an easy mechanism to exit the contract if needed.

In relation to fake reviews, businesses should review their customer review processes and procedures for engaging individuals to promote their products and services, as well as the processes in place for checking how genuine the reviews are, to ensure that they are not adopting unfair commercial practices.

To the Point 

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