The Queen will unveil new plans from the government that are designed to give consumers more rights to refunds for dodgy digital downloads such as music, videos and apps in her annual speech to the House of Lords on Wednesday.
The updated consumer rights bill is designed to consolidate a number of existing pieces of legislation into a single document to address the changing habits of UK consumers buying physical and digital content online.
Consumer minister Jo Swinson told The Guardian that the changes would help to improve the protection given to consumers in this market, which is now estimated to be worth over £1bn.
"Stronger consumer protection and clearer consumer rights will help create a fairer and stronger marketplace. We are fully aware that this area of law over the years has become unnecessarily complicated and too confusing, with many people not sure where to turn if they have a problem," she said.
“We are hoping to bring in a number of changes to improve consumer confidence and make sure the law is fit for the 21st century."
A Whitehall source told The Mirror: “The aim is to give shoppers extra protection in a world where more and more people are buying online.”
The move was welcomed by Richard Lloyd, executive director of Which?, who said that having an up-to-date consumer bill of rights “fit for the 21st century” was an important step forward.
“This Bill is about making it easier for people to understand their rights and giving consumers power to challenge bad practice. It should also mean that both consumers and regulators have the tools they need to challenge unscrupulous businesses that breach the law,” he said.
Another key change that will likely be announced is that of data protection. The government is currently involved in discussions at a European level with other nations on proposals to the legislation that could see more stringent proposals put in place.
One piece of legislation that is unlikely to be covered, though, is the so-called Snooper's Charter that was designed to give the authorities more power to spy on digital communications taking place over internet providers' networks.
The Lib Dems vetoed these proposals earlier this year, in a move welcomed by privacy campaigners.
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