First published by Author on February 02, 2022 in the following categories: Advertising Consumer Law Digital Industry Investigations Market Dominance Abuse Pricing Selling Restrictions and tagged with advertising | cma | competition law | consumer law | contracts | investigations | market abuse | pricing
Last year, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) published the details of its full decision having fined ComparetheMarket £17.8m for reportedly breaching competition law. The investigation that had been concluded by the UK’s competition regulator led to the finding that the famous price comparison website was said to have broken the law by including a most favoured nation clause in some of the contracts it had with home insurance providers.
Over the course of December 2015-December 2017, ComparetheMarket is said to have used the clause to retain its domination of the comparison website market. The knock-on effect may have been the prevention of healthy growth of its competitors and possibly restricting customers from finding better deals on their home insurance.
Designed to empower consumers to find bargains in a crowded and confusing market, price comparison websites should be on the side of their users. This is why it was concerning that ComparetheMarket had been restricting competition seemingly for their own gain. The enforcement action taken by the CMA hopefully helped to restore competitiveness in the digital price comparison market, and is a real example of where the most favoured nation clause can lead to problems for competition law.
First published by Author on January 05, 2022 in the following categories: Healthcare Industry Investigations Price Fixing Price Hikes Pricing and tagged with cma | competition law | consumer law | healthcare | investigations | Pharmaceuticals | price fixing | pricing
In late 2017, the CMA released a statement announcing that it had begun an investigation into suspected anti-competitive pharmaceuticals agreements between “various parties”.
The pharmaceutical companies under review were kept anonymous until 2019. Then, according to the CMA, they alleged that Alliance Pharmaceuticals, Focus, Lexon, and Medreich had reportedly made agreements to not compete in regard to supplying anti-nausea drug Prochlorperazine.
In January, the CMA published an update regarding their investigation, which was set to conclude in Autumn 2021. As the case approaches its end, we look back at investigation so far and assess the potential damage the anti-competitive agreements may have caused.
Earlier this year, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) granted an appeal involving SSE (Scottish & Southern Energy) to review energy code modifications decided by Ofgem, the UK government’s energy regulator. The SSE code modifications appeal reportedly takes issue with Ofgem’s move to ensure rules about charges to use the electricity transmission network are properly applied.
Ofgem asserts that the rule is currently being misinterpreted, meaning that customers are currently paying over the odds as energy generators are taking their money to cover transmission charges. Hearings have been set to take place this year.
The SSE code modifications appeal is based on the energy company’s belief that Ofgem is incorrectly applying the rules surrounding transmission charges. According to SSE, the cut to company returns made by the increased costs could mean that energy generators may find it harder to meet the UK’s ambition of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.
First published by Author on September 08, 2021 in the following categories: Cartels Market Sharing Price Fixing Price Hikes Pricing and tagged with cartels | cma | competition law | investigations | marktet sharing | price fixing | pricing
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has previously confirmed the denial of an appeal made by FP McCann Ltd, a company understood to be involved in an alleged precast concrete drainage cartel, who reportedly sought to evade the £2.5m issued to them for their reported infringement of competition law.
The earlier update with regards to the cartel investigation marks an end to the four-year legal case. It is understood that several companies had previously either admitted to their illegal practice or accepted penalties, while FP McCann lodged an appeal in December 2019 with the hope that the ruling would be overturned.
The CMA’s final decision looks to mark a victory for businesses and consumers across the UK, setting an example that any form of illegal price-fixing and collusion will not be tolerated by the watchdog.
First published by Author on July 07, 2021 in the following categories: Cartels Compensation Claims Industry Investigations Price Fixing Pricing and tagged with cartels | cma | competition law | financial | investigations | price fixing | pricing
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), the government body that regulates business competition in the UK, previously published an update with regards to its investigation into the financial services sector relating to alleged suspected anti-competition arrangements.
The update followed the UK government’s declaration of a post-Brexit trade deal with the European Union, with the CMA announcing that the investigation will continue beyond the conclusion of the exit transition period. Previously, the investigation was also seeking to ascertain whether an infringement of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) had occurred, but now it will proceed in respect of UK competition law, solely investigating the possibility of a breach of the Competition Act 1998 (CA98).
In March, the CMA announced its intention to begin a children’s social care study in an effort to understand the rising costs of care and lack of supply reportedly affecting the sector. The review is only a preliminary step, but it could lead to future recommendations or, potentially, a full investigation into social care.
The announcement is said to have come following concerns from other organisations, which have raised the issue of private sector provision of social care and the high profits these private providers may be reaping. In January, Josh MacAlister, chair of the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care in England, wrote to the CMA asking for the social care market to be investigated.
There is no evidence to suggest that the CMA is looking into anti-competitive practices in children’s social care, or breaches of competition law. Instead, the CMA is investigating how profit-driven companies may be affecting the provision of appropriate placements for children.
First published by Author on February 10, 2021 in the following categories: Consumer Law Industry Investigations Latest Pricing and tagged with cma | competition law | consumer law | funerals market | investigations | pricing
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is carrying out a market investigation into the supply of services by funeral directors at the point of need, and the supply of crematoria services also. This article is a CMA funerals investigation update.
On the 16th March 2020, the CMA announced their decision to extend the statutory deadline for this investigation by six months. The new deadline for this investigation is now currently set as 27th March 2021, with all submissions until June 2020 being taken into account.
First published by Author on December 15, 2020 in the following categories: Advertising Consumer Law Industry Investigations Latest Pricing Selling Restrictions and tagged with advertising | cma | competition law | consumer law | investigations | musical instruments | pricing
On 17 April 2018, the Competition Markets Authority (CMA) began a formal investigation into suspected anti-competitive practices in the musical instrument industry.
The CMA reportedly had reasonable grounds to suspect Yamaha of a competition law infringement. Yamaha was thought to be involved in anti-competitive practices and/or concerted agreements with at least one UK seller.
Given the value of this growing market sector, this is an important investigation for the CMA to have undertaken.
First published by Author on November 04, 2020 in the following categories: Consumer Law Industry Investigations Latest Pricing and tagged with cma | competition law | consumer law | investigations | pricing
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has launched a review of the implementation and impact of the recommendations of its 2016 market study into the legal services market in England and Wales.
First published by Author on September 03, 2020 in the following categories: Advertising Incentives Industry Pricing Selling Restrictions Travel and Holidays and tagged with advertising | cma | competition law | investigations | market study | pricing | travel
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) continues to monitor pricing practices and behaviours for booking hotels online.
Since the completion of their investigations in 2015 into the sector, they have been actively engaged in monitoring developments. As an important sector to keep track of, their work – and that of their European competition counterparts – is clearly important.
Here is some information about the CMA’s latest publication of their work in this sector, and a brief background of the preceding events.