Office of Fair Trading
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OFT receives super-complaint from Which?

The OFT has today received a super-complaint from Which? relating to surcharges that are payable when customers use a debit or credit card.

Which? has identified two areas that it would like the OFT to investigate:

  • Transparency - are consumers informed that the surcharge will be payable before they commit to making a purchase?
  • Charge - is the surcharge proportionate to the cost incurred by the business for processing the payment?

The OFT will now consider the issues raised in the super-complaint in order to establish whether any element, or combination of elements, in the relevant markets is or appears to be significantly harming the interests of consumers.  It will publish a response to the super-complaint within 90 days.

Possible outcomes include:

  • improving the quality and accessibility of information for consumers
  • encouraging businesses in the market to self-regulate
  • making recommendations to Government to change regulations or public policy
  • taking competition or consumer enforcement action
  • making a market investigation reference to the Competition Commission
  • a clean bill of health.

The OFT will shortly invite interested parties to provide any evidence which may be useful to its assessment. For more information please see the super-complaint page.

NOTES

  1. The Enterprise Act 2002 (the Act) makes provision for designated consumer bodies to make super-complaints. A super-complaint, as defined by section 11(1) of the Act, is a complaint submitted by a designated consumer body that 'any feature, or combination of features, of a market in the United Kingdom for goods or services is or appears to be significantly harming the interests of consumers'. Which? is a designated consumer body. Within 90 days after the day on which a super-complaint is received, the OFT must say publicly how it proposes to deal with it.




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