The government has confirmed it will consult on giving the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) new powers to decide itself if consumer law has been broken. Do you welcome the news?
We were pleased to see the government’s announcement that tough new powers for the competition watchdog to fine businesses directly who have broken the law could be on the way.
We believe that action to impose fines on firms that harm consumers through excessive charges, misleading offers and confusing practice can’t come soon enough.
They should act not only as a deterrent, but as an incentive to give consumers a fair deal.
Much-needed new powers for the CMA and other regulators should also help to clamp down on the ongoing bad practice of excessive, so-called ‘loyalty penalties’, which cost consumers billions of pounds every year.
The government says that the new powers would allow the CMA to intervene earlier and more quickly to tackle failings by companies in relation to consumer law.
It would then be able to directly impose fines on those firms for poor business behaviour.
It’s hoped this will act as a powerful deterrent to firms who are engaged in bad practice. Other regulators, such as Ofcom and the Financial Conduct Authority, could also see their powers increased. Both regulators have also given an update on the actions to tackle the so-called ‘loyalty penalty’ in the telecomms and financial industries respectively.
Prime Minister Theresa May was quoted saying:
“For far too long, many big companies have been getting away with harmful trading practices which lead to poor services and confusion among customers who have parted with their hard-earned cash.
The system as it stands not only lets consumers down but it also lets down the vast majority of businesses who play by the rules.
It is high time this came to an end and today we are confirming our intention to give much stronger powers to the CMA, to strengthen the sanctions available and to give customers the protection they deserve against firms who want to rip them off”
We want to see companies not only being deterred by these prospective new powers, but using them as an incentive to give consumers fairer, and ultimately better, deals.
Do you want to see regulators with stronger powers to stop businesses from exploiting consumers? What more needs to be done to force companies to start playing by the rules, and obeying consumer law?