This Bill is currently passing through the House of Commons - it has passed both first & second readings and is now in report stage. It is a complicated Bill and aims to provide for the regulation of competition in digital markets; to amend the Competition Act 1998 and the Enterprise Act 2002 and to make other provision about competition law; to make provision relating to the protection of consumer rights and to confer further such rights; and for connected purposes.
The Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA), together with a number of other tourism organisations including the National Trust and the RHS, have identified a significant issue of concern in the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill The Bill considerably enhances the information and rights that have to be provided to consumers, for example:
•Key pre-contract information will need to be presented to the consumer prominently and clearly before the consumer places their order, and express acknowledgement from the consumer that the contract imposes an obligation to make payment must be obtained (e.g. checkbox).
•Multiple notices would have to be issued including: reminder notices, cooling off notices, acknowledgement of cancellation notices etc. These notices need to be sent at prescribed times, in prescribed formats and contain the mandatory information set out within the Bill.
•Cancellation: Provide a straightforward process to exit the contract via a single communication. The Bill will also extend consumers’ existing cancellation rights to all subscription contracts and introduce a new 14-day cancellation right after a free or reduced-price trial, and after auto-renewal if the renewal term is a year or more.
•For consumers who sign up at a property or via phone, ‘scripts’ would need to be provided to SSC advisors/staff/volunteers to make sure they read out the requisite information.