The CMA has launched a new campaign to help consumers identify and report misleading practices online including hidden charges, subscription traps, fake reviews and pressurising sales tactics.
This move follows the UK government proposals for a range of reforms and associated consultation to increase consumer protection online. Importantly, proposals focus on improving enforcement and propose giving the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) the power to impose direct fines of up to 10% of global turnover for significant breaches of UK consumer laws. These UK government proposals echo the EU’s Omnibus Directive (due to be implemented and in force in Member States by 28 May 2022) which equally looks to strengthen consumer protection laws in light of the digital era and similarly introduces GDPR-style sanctions for consumer law breaches.
Consumer protection, particularly in the digital sphere, is clearly high on the UK government and regulator’s agenda. With increased regulatory scrutiny and raised consumer awareness of what is and isn’t acceptable, it is more important than ever to ensure consumer practices and interactions are compliant with UK consumer laws. For digital sales, this means (in particular) not just getting your T&Cs correct, but ensuring that the whole consumer sales journey is compliant and that key terms are brought to the consumer’s attention prominently and in good time, well ahead of the ‘Buy Now’ button.