A better deal in consumer protection and procurement law?

A better deal in consumer protection and procurement law?

HM Treasury and the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills jointly launched their 'better deal' paper on 30 November 2015.

The purpose of this policy paper is to try to boost competition in the economy and to lower bills for consumers and businesses.

So what proposed new policies should lawyers be keeping an eye out for?

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Consumer protection

After the coming into force of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 in October 2015, many lawyers were hoping to enjoy a relatively fallow period in consumer law. Fortunately, this is still likely to be the case--however, they should be alive to the developments below.

Of particular interest is the work which the government has given to Which? to investigate the fairness of consumer terms and conditions and the consultation on the possible introduction of civil fines.

The key consumer protection announcements in the policy paper relate to:

  • terms and conditions--the government has asked Which? to work with 'leading, consumer-facing businesses' to review the way terms and conditions are presented, in particular online. When the review has reported, the government will then consult on the introduction of civil fining powers for breaches of consumer protection laws, as part of a wider call for evidence on how to 'improve engagement with terms and conditions and ensure the terms that bind consumers are fair in practice'
  • price comparison websites--the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is planning to analyse price comparison websites (PCWs) during 2016. It is likely to consider whether:
    • lack of access to free, readily-available tariff data i

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