The government has published the Draft Consumer Rights Bill, which is the most significant overhaul of UK consumer law in decades.
It was announced in May during the Queen’s speech, following years of consultation by the government and the Law Commissions on key areas of consumer protection law.
The Draft Bill consists of amendments to existing Acts and is in three parts:
Part One covers the reform and consolidation of a consumer’s rights and remedies for goods and services, as well as introducing new rules for digital content.
Part two covers the reform of the rules on unfair terms in consumer contracts
Part three covers enforcement powers of public enforcers and new civil remedies which can be imposed by a public enforcer on a business. It also includes the reform of consumer collective actions for anti-competitive behaviour.
It should be noted that the Bill does not include the Law Commission’s proposals for a new direct consumer civil right for misleading and aggressive practices. It is the government’s intention to introduce this by amending the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.
It is hoped that this reform and consolidation will make the law on consumer rights simpler and clearer.