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CMA approach to consumer enforcement: challenges and opportunities. Presentation to the CMA Board 19 March 2014. Consumer Regime Changes. OFT National Consumer P rotection Enforcement (Part 8, CPRs, UTCCRs) Market Studies Credit Regulation Business Guidance

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Cma approach to consumer enforcement challenges and opportunities

CMA approach to consumer enforcement: challenges and opportunities

Presentation to the CMA Board

19 March 2014

Changes to the consumer landscape what moved where

OFT opportunities

National ConsumerProtection Enforcement

(Part 8, CPRs, UTCCRs)

  • Market Studies

    Credit Regulation

    Business Guidance

    Consumer Codes Approval Scheme

    Consumer Information, Education and Advice (including Consumer Direct)


Local, Regional and National Consumer Protection Enforcement (Part 8, CPRs, UTTCRs etc)

Changes to the Consumer Landscape What Moved Where?


Consumer Protection (Part 8, CPRs, UTTCRs etc) focusing on systemic market failures

Market Studies


Credit Regulation


Business Guidance


Citizens Advice

  • Consumer Information, Education and Advice (including Adviceguide)

Consumer Focus

Consumer Advocacy


Consumer Futures

Consumer Advocacy

(Regulated Sectors)


Consumer engagement
Consumer engagement opportunities

Annexe 1 background on the consumer protection framework and the landscape changes
Annexe 1: opportunitiesBackground on the Consumer Protection Framework and the Landscape changes

Background the uk consumer protection framework utccrs

  • The UTCCRs implement the European Unfair Terms Directive opportunities93/13/EEC.

  • Any non- individually negotiated term in a business to consumer contract can be assessed for fairness

    • apart from terms which relate to the main subject matter of the contract (i.e. Price and goods/service) as long as they are written in plain and intelligible language

  • A term is considered unfair if it creates a significant imbalance in the parties’ rights and obligations under the contract, to the detriment of the consumer and contrary to the requirement of ‘good faith’.

  • Schedule 2 of the Regssets out an indicative and non-exhaustive (Grey List) list of terms which may be regarded as unfair.

  • Examples of unfair terms are terms that:

    • permit excessive or disproportionally high penalties for breach of contract,

    • limits or excludes a firms liability in relation to breach of contract

    • deny consumers the right to full compensation where their statutory rights are not met by the business

    • require consumers to pay for goods or services they haven't received when the contract is cancelled.

  • CMA and qualifying bodies (TSS, some sectoral regulators and Which?) can apply to the courts to decide if a term is fair/unfair.

  • If deemed unfair, the term is unenforceable although the rest of the contract will still apply.

  • CMA and qualifying bodies can request copies of firm’s contracts and other information as necessary.

  • Enforcers can accept undertakings to stop using an unfair terms in place of court action.

  • CMA has duty to publish details of all orders and undertakings obtained by it, or another body ,under UTTCRs.

  • Further duty to provide, any person on request, information (including details of undertakings/orders and any amended terms) regarding whether a particular term to which the UTTCRS apply has been the subject of an undertaking or order given to the CMA or notified to it by a qualifying body.

  • Details of all undertakings and injunctions obtained prior to April 2014 are available at

Background: The UK Consumer Protection Framework - UTCCRS

Background the uk consumer protection framework other consumer protection laws
Background: opportunitiesThe UK Consumer Protection Framework - Other Consumer Protection Laws

The CMA retains enforcement powers under a number of pieces of consumer protection law, such as:

  • The Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 1999

    • EU derived regs which provide consumers with cancellation rights when purchasing goods and services over a distance.

    • Aim is to promote cross border trade across the EU by ensuring consumers are not put at a disadvantage when buying at a distance.

    • Can be enforced by CMA and/or TSS directly or by all designated enforcers under the EA02.

  • The Financial Services (Distance Marketing) Regulations 2004

    • The Regulations cover the sale of most financial services that take place at a distance, such as online or over the phone and again provide cancellation rights to consumers.

    • Enforced by FCA and CMA.

  • The Operation of Air Services in the Community (Pricing etc.) Regulations 2013

    • Enforced by both CAA and CMA

    • It sets out a number of legal obligations relating to the display of prices for air services.

  • The Business Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2007

    • Prohibit businesses from advertising products in a way that misleads traders.

    • Set out conditions under which comparative advertising, to consumers and business, is permitted.

    • Enforced by CMA and TSS.