The Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill is currently undergoing scrutiny in Parliament. The bill consists of six parts and 26 schedules, addressing two primary areas: digital markets and proposed competition law reforms (Parts 1 and 2), and consumer law enforcement and new consumer rights (Parts 3 and 4).
In relation to digital markets, the bill aims to empower the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to designate businesses, known as “designated undertakings,” with strategic market status in specific digital activities. These designated undertakings would be required to comply with rules governing consumer and business treatment in relation to their strategic market status. The bill seeks to give the CMA powers to address the root causes of competition issues in digital markets and enhance transparency in mergers posing risks to competition.
Part 2 of the bill focuses on competition law reforms. It proposes amendments to existing UK law on merger control, market inquiries, and the cartel offence. The bill aims to enhance the investigative and enforcement powers of the UK’s competition regime.
Regarding consumer law enforcement and new consumer rights, Part 3 of the bill introduces two separate regimes. The first is a court-based regime that simplifies and enhances the court enforcement procedure, empowering courts to impose monetary penalties on traders breaching consumer laws or failing to comply with undertakings. The second is a direct enforcement regime administered by the CMA, granting the authority new powers to directly enforce consumer law through the imposition of monetary penalties for certain infringements.
Part 4 of the bill addresses consumer protection by revoking and recreating the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. This part of the bill prohibits unfair commercial practices in business-to-consumer relationships, covers issues such as “subscription traps,” and introduces protections for consumers making advance payments to consumer saving scheme contracts. The bill also includes provisions related to alternative dispute resolution procedures for consumer contracts.
It is important to note that the bill’s competition and consumer provisions extend to the entire United Kingdom.
The bill’s progress includes a Public Bill Committee, which is currently able to receive written evidence, and its first sitting is expected to take place on June 13, with a scheduled reporting deadline of July 18.
If you have relevant expertise and experience or a special interest in the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill, which is currently passing through Parliament, you can submit your views in writing to the House of Commons Public Bill Committee which is going to consider this Bill.
Your submission should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Further guidance on submitting written evidence can be found here.
Find out more here:
- Bills before Parliament: Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill
- Read Explanatory Notes: Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill
- Library Briefing Papers:
- A first, focusing on digital markets and proposed competition law reforms (Parts 1 and 2 of the Bill); and
- a second, focusing on proposed reforms of consumer law enforcement and on new consumer rights (Parts 3 and 4 of the Bill).