This bill was written by the Rt Hon. Sir Nicholas Clack OOBC, 1st Baron Milton Keynes, as a Private Member's Bill.
Note: the author of this bill included several example images for certain clauses. They have been linked after the relevant clauses, and should not be treated as part of the legal text of this bill.
Customer Abuse Prevention Bill 2020A bill to prevent dishonesty in effected expectations
Be it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—
1 General and miscellaneous provisions
- No information must be concealed where it is unlikely to be seen by a potential consumer. [Example]
- In the absence of any clearly indicative and consistent scale, all graphs or displays of amounts must be linear. [Example]
- No information essential to the understanding of a consumer may be placed in a less contrasting or smaller font than the rest of the essential information. [Example 1] [Example 2]
- No price may be laid out so as to intentionally misinform the potential consumer. [Example]
- No collection of items may artificially increase its number of items, whether stated or implied, with filler material to provide the illusion of a greater amount of proper items. [Example]
- All special promotions must be plausibly achievable. [Example]
- Any given item must have the same price no matter the method or location of purchase. [Example]
- Shipping costs may only cover the actual cost of shipping. [Example]
- No item may contradict itself on the packaging. [Example]
- No agreement may be made in which the terms of the agreement are not clearly shown to one or more of the persons making said agreement. [Example]
- No service may bill itself as free while withholding a vital part of its function behind a paywall. [Example]
- No sale may include a negative discount. [Example]
- No application may forge the existence of a notification in its icon. [Example]
- If multiple options for a given service are listed, they must all be listed in the same way, in order of price. [Example]
- No entity may increase the price of an item shortly before holding a sale at it at the old price or higher. [Example]
- All additional offers must be opt-in, not opt-out. [Example]
- No establishment or application may charge for nothing. [Example]
- No advertisement may inhibit a potential consumer's ability to view information essential to their presence at a certain establishment or upon a certain web page. [Example 1] [Example 2]
- No establishment or application may reward users for leaving good reviews of said establishment or application, nor may they refuse any service for not doing so. [Example]
- Establishments or applications must accept both negative and positive reviews. [Example]
- No site may attempt to inhibit the use of advertisement blockers. [Example]
- All online advertisements must have a clearly marked and fully functional close or skip button at least 100 pixels on either side. No online advertisement must have a close button that does not function.
- No webpage may cover more than 25% of its space with advertisements at one time. [Example]
- No advertisement may impersonate an official legal document. [Example]
- No advertisement may present a danger to the well-being of society. [Example]
- No advertisement may disguise itself as something else. [Example]
- Two sizes of beverages sold at an establishment, if within 25% of another's size, must be served within the same container. [Example]
- All beverages sold at an establishment must state the size of the serving in millilitres in the same or larger font as the rest of the item's listing on a menu.
- The same amount of any given bagged food must be contained within the same sized bag. [Example]
- No container may give the appearance of containing a larger amount than reality while concealing useless empty space. [Example]
- Recommended serving sizes must be something that it would make sense for a person to consume. [Example]
4 Reoccurring services
- No service may increase or decrease the amount it charges a consumer without the consumer's informed consent. The consumer must be informed that they are in no way obligated to move to a new pricing model. [Example]
- Services are required to be easily cancelled at any point online and offline. [Example]
- Email newsletters must provide an unsubscribe button at the top of each newsletter in text of a colour contrasting that of its background.
- When a consumer cancels their subscription to a given service, they may no longer be charged, and the service may no longer be provided. [Example]
- No email newsletter may state, in its subject, any bait-and-switch topic that entices viewers to open the email. [Example]
- No service may charge a fee for cancellation. [Example]
- No service may charge for not using said service. [Example]
- All requests to subscribe to a newsletter must stand on their own, separate from anything else. [Example]
5 Hostile architecture
- No seat may be tilted at an angle so as to make people get up earlier than normal. [Example]
- No bench may be constructed or modified with the express purpose of preventing persons from sleeping upon it. [Example] (Lords Amendment A)
6 Other cases
- Any previous provisions to do with prices also apply to promised wages. [Example]
- Any previous provisions to do with email newsletters also apply to mobile or computer notifications. [Example]
- Applications must close when closed.
- No application may request access to a function on its device that it should not logically use. [Example]
- No pamphlet may disguise itself as a banknote in any capacity, even when it technically does not count as counterfeiting. [Example]
- A committee of concerned citizens from each
countylieutenancy area, selected randomly from those who apply, shall ascertain whether a certain product or practice violates the guidelines previously established. (Lords Amendment A)
- Each committee will consist of
fivenine persons, selected randomly on the fifteenth day of June and the fifteenth day of December every year. (Lords Amendment A)
- Each committee will meet on the first Monday of every month in whatever location is most convenient to its members, and every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday afterward until the previous month's reports have been examined.
- The committee will examine reports submitted to them throughout the month, procure (if possible) a sample of those items mentioned in the report from the nearest convenient location, and decide if the guidelines previously established have been violated.
- The committee will also examine those items under section m(3)(a), and determine if they are to be allowed to be sold or distributed within the United Kingdom.
- This committee will be empowered to impose fines upon the responsible entity of no less than the amount by which the entity has profited off their violation of the guidelines previously established.
- Any product that is deemed to be in violation of these guidelines shall be prohibited to be sold or distributed within the United Kingdom, unless one of the two is done:
- a replacement thereof officially passes the inspection of a committee.
- a large, red banner with large, bold, black text is placed upon the item informing all potential consumers that it has been condemned by a committee, and in what ways, with photographic and/or video evidence.
8 Short title, commencement and extent
- This Act may be cited as the Customer Abuse Prevention Bill 2020.
- This Act comes into force on royal assent.
- This Act extends to the entire United Kingdom of
England and Wales.Great Britain and Northern Ireland. (Lords Amendment A)