The DMCC Act becomes law

United Kingdom

The long-awaited Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers (“DMCC”) Act is scheduled to receive royal assent today (24 May 2024), in the wash-up period just before the dissolution of the current parliament and following the announcement of a snap UK general election for 4 July 2024.

It is a landmark piece of legislation that has been in the making for several years. It aims to regulate competition in digital markets; amend the Competition Act 1998 and the Enterprise Act 2002 and make other provision about competition law; and provide for the protection and enhancement of consumer rights.

From a consumer protection law perspective, the CMA will be able to directly enforce consumer laws with new powers to fine businesses up to 10% of global turnover for UK consumer law breaches. The DMCC Act also introduces new (and, in places, very prescriptive) rules on subscription contracts and replaces the current rules on unfair commercial practices with more stringent rules (including new prohibitions on drip pricing and certain practices relating to fake reviews).

It is expected that the DMCC Act will come into force in Autumn 2024, with certain provisions applying later (for example, we understand that the subscription contract provisions will come into force no earlier than Spring 2026). However, these details will be specified in the DMCC Act (when the final version is published) and/or secondary legislation.

The CMA will be responsible for implementing and enforcing the DMCC Act, and will issue guidance and consultation documents on various aspects of the new regime. The CMA will also work closely with other regulators, such as the ICO, Ofcom, and FCA, to ensure a coherent and consistent approach to the regulation of digital markets and consumers.

We previously explored the consumer law aspects of the DMCC Bill in our previous articles here and the digital markets and competition law aspects here. We plan to report with more detail and analysis after the final text of the DMCC Act is published.