Consumer Rights Bill begins parliamentary progress

The Consumer Rights Bill (CRB) is a major piece of legislation that will consolidate and update consumer protection law in relation to contracts for goods, services and digital content as well as dealing with the enforcement of consumer protection and competition law. 

The law governing consumer contracts in the UK is highly fragmented, spreading across more than 20 pieces of legislation. This makes it difficult for businesses to comply with their obligations and confusing for consumers to understand and enforce their rights. In many cases, different pieces of legislation overlap or conflict with each other and have failed to keep up with the market, particularly in areas of technological development. 

After publishing a draft for consultation, the government has laid the CRB before parliament together with explanatory notes. It has had its second reading in the House of Commons and is now with a parliamentary committee, which should produce its report by 13 March 2014. The CRB consolidates the law on consumer contracts for goods and services and introduces digital content as a new category of contract with its own statutory rights and remedies. Part II of the CRB reforms the law in relation to unfair contract terms in consumer contracts and Part III covers enforcement of consumer protection and the introduction of private actions for breach of competition law. There have been some changes to the original draft. Many have been made to clarify language and bring it in line with other legislation but others are more substantial…

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