Expert legal advice from The Competition Lawyers

Tag: investigations

Old and written-off vehicles – suspected anti-competitive conduct

First published by Author on February 01, 2023 in the following categories: Consumer Law Industry Latest and tagged with | | | |

old and written-off vehicles

The CMA (Competition and Markets Authority) is looking into suspected anti-competitive conduct in relation to old and written-off vehicles in the UK.

The investigation began approximately a year ago, and we will outline an update that has already been published by the CMA at the end of last year in respect of a penalty notice that has been issued.

The car industry is massive, and there have been a number of scandals that it has been involved in in recent years, and it can be somewhat of a murky area in terms of consumer confidence. The CMA’s work in identifying if there have been any breaches of competition law is incredibly important. If any breaches are established, swift and effective action could be taken.

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Social media endorsements – CMA investigations

First published by Author on January 04, 2023 in the following categories: Advertising Consumer Law Digital Investigations Latest Selling Restrictions and tagged with | | | | |

For several years, the CMA has been investigating social media endorsements to make sure that vital competition and consumer laws in the UK and not being broken.

Given the prevalence of social media, particularly in respect of it being used for marketing and advertising these days, it is vital that people know when they are seeing advertisements and products and services being pushed for recompense by influences. There have been many questions as to whether it has been clear enough that people know they are being advertised to as opposed to simply being recommended a product, which is the real focus of the CMA investigation.

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Private healthcare market competition investigation

First published by Author on December 07, 2022 in the following categories: Consumer Law Healthcare Industry Investigations Latest Pricing and tagged with | | | | |

private healthcare market

The private healthcare market investigation that has been ongoing for over a decade is a matter that has seen a recent update published by the UK’s CMA, the Competition and Markets Authority.

Private healthcare is a particularly sensitive industry in relation to competition law, and it is one that must be monitored carefully to make sure that patients – i.e. consumers – can make the best choices for them. In this latest update from the CMA, it has been suggested that there is still much more work that needs to be done.

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CMA investigation into Education Software Solutions Limited

First published by Author on November 08, 2022 in the following categories: Consumer Law Education Industry Market Dominance Abuse and tagged with | | |

Education

The CMA is reportedly conducting an investigation into Education Software Solutions Limited (EES), looking into whether the company might be abusing a dominant market position in respect of changes to contracts.

The investigation that commenced earlier this year is still in the initial phases, and we are currently tracking updates and are potentially looking at the initial investigations being concluded toward the end of this year. The CMA has already had to extend its initial period of investigation due to the requirement to analyse additional information, so it may be that further time will still be required.

It goes without saying that, if the CMA concludes that a breach of competition law has taken place, swift and decisive action will need to be taken. As things stand, we do not yet know whether this is the case or not.

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Suspected unfair pricing investigations

First published by Author on October 05, 2022 in the following categories: Consumer Law Industry Investigations Latest Price Fixing Pricing and tagged with | | | | | |

overpriced hydrocortisone tablets

It is important for the CMA to look into incidents of suspected unfair pricing to ensure that consumers are not being overcharged and taken advantage of.

This can particularly be the case in relation to medication costs of which the CMA has looked into a number of issues about the NHS being overcharged, and we will provide an update of an example in this article.

Broadly speaking, it is important that pricing is set at fair levels and that companies are not taking advantage of consumers to drive their profits up in an obscene manner. At the same time, competition must be required to allow pricing to be set competitively as well.

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Competition law in sports: CVC Capital and Six Nations Rugby

First published by Author on September 04, 2022 in the following categories: Acquisitions Industry Investigations Mergers and tagged with | | |

In March 2021, it was announced that CVC Capital and Six Nations Rugby had come to deal on a 14.3% stake in the Six Nations, for which it reportedly paid a huge £365 million. However, in the wake of this proposed agreement, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) saw fit to begin an investigation into whether or not the merger would provoke a decrease in competition within the market.

When major deals occur in any sector, it is natural and routine for the CMA to look into any potential changes to competition which may be caused, so the fact that a CMA investigation was triggered does not necessarily confirm that a breach of competition law has occurred, or that any action will be taken against the organisation under investigation. Such was the case for the CVC Capital deal, which was cleared by the CMA in July.

Nevertheless, it is worth considering why the CMA made the decision to investigate and how it came to its decision, as cases like this can give a valuable insight into how the competition regulator operates in the UK. It is also useful to look at cases like this from the perspective of competition law in sport.

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Fuel retail market review in the UK – CMA

First published by Author on August 03, 2022 in the following categories: Industry Investigations Latest Pricing and tagged with | | | |

investigation into retail banking competition

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has announced that it is conducting an urgent review into the UK fuel retail market at the request of the government.

The review comes at a time with soaring inflation, a cost-of-living crisis and the prices at petrol pumps spiralling out of control. We are all being hit by the increased cost of living, and the government must do all it can to ensure that the people do not suffer and face further hardship.

We welcome the review that is being conducted by the CMA, and we urge the government to step up in supporting people and preventing prices from soaring even further out of control.

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Mobile radio network services CMA investigation

First published by Author on July 06, 2022 in the following categories: Healthcare Industry Investigations and tagged with | | |

mobile radio network services

The CMA has launched a market investigation into the mobile radio network services in respect of the infrastructure used by emergency services to securely communicate in Great Britain.

The investigation is looking into whether the current model and market for this niche industry works to achieve efficiency and cost-effectiveness in respect of the tax burden on the British treasury. Whilst an infrastructure system was reportedly established some 20 years ago on a long-term contract basis, given how bespoke the requirements of the system were, the CMA is looking into whether we are now in a time where other providers may be able to offer more cost-effective solutions.

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CMA concludes study on electric vehicle charging market

First published by Author on June 01, 2022 in the following categories: Industry Investigations and tagged with | |

electric vehicle charging market

Following its launch a while back, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) concluded its study of the electric vehicle charging market. It had been considering how competition could be encouraged, as well as assessing the measures that need to be taken to ensure that consumers receive a good service from this sector.

While the CMA often launches investigations where there are suspected breaches of competition law, it also conducts more pre-emptive research, anticipating how developments in certain sectors could affect businesses and consumers moving forward. Such inquiries often look to ensure that interested parties can speak out about any concerns, and to put together figures and statistics to create a picture of the market.

The assessment of the electric vehicle charging market is, of course, timely, given the growing availability of electric vehicles and the cost of petrol, although electricity prices are also surging. This is as well as the government’s goal of 2030 as the year in which petrol and diesel vehicle sales could be banned. In light of these developments, the CMA outlined steps which should be taken to enable the sector to function effectively in future.

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CMA investigates fake online reviews on Amazon and Google sites

First published by Author on May 05, 2022 in the following categories: Consumer Law Digital Industry Investigations and tagged with | | | | | |

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) previously announced that it had begun an investigation into potentially fake online reviews which may exist on major websites and online marketplaces. It is understood that there may be concerns that businesses are not doing enough to monitor and take down misleading reviews, and that some could be benefiting from them.

Since the birth of online shopping, consumers have been afforded a huge breadth of choice when buying products or services, and all in an easy way. However, the internet also comes with risks for consumers, with many scammers and disreputable businesses trying to take advantage of the faceless nature of online shopping, hiding behind a screen as they attempt to convince unsuspecting consumers to make purchases.

The existence of fake online reviews is one of the major downsides to online shopping, posing a difficulty for consumers as authenticity can often be hard to assess accurately. It is, therefore, important that businesses appropriately oversee online reviews and remove the fake ones, or they could be unfairly profiting from the deception of customers.

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