The UK government has announced a package of reforms to increase protection for online consumers, with a focus on improving enforcement and further tackling of subscription traps and fake reviews.
Under the new proposals, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) would finally be able to impose direct fines for breaches of consumer law without going through the courts.
For more significant infringements, companies could be liable for fines of up to 10% of global turnover. Businesses could also receive civil fines for refusal, or for the provision of misleading information to enforcers.
An additional degree of flexibility would be brought in to speed up resolution and lower costs for both sides, including the CMA accepting binding, voluntary commitments at any stage of an investigation.
These new measures would ensure that in a post-Brexit world, the UK is keeping consumer protection at the top of the agenda - in line with the EU Omnibus Directive which imposes GDPR-style sanctions for consumer law breach.
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said:
"The UK’s economic recovery relies on the strength of our open markets and consumers’ faith in them.
"By delivering on our commitment to bolster our competition regime, we’re giving businesses confidence that they’re competing on fair terms, and the public confidence they’re getting a good deal."