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The Office of Fair Trading OFT was a not-for-profit and non-ministerial government department of fai trading United Kingdomestablished by fai trading Fair Trading Actwhich enforced both consumer protection and competition lawacting as the United Kingdom's economic regulator. The OFT's goal was to fai trading markets work well for consumers, ensuring vigorous competition between fair dealing businesses and prohibiting unfair practices such as rogue trading, scamsand cartels. Its role fai trading modified and its powers changed with the Enterprise Act The OFT investigated markets to see whether they were working well for consumers and customers.
Where appropriate, studies led to market investigation references to the Competition Commissionto enforce action, consumer awareness campaigns or to recommendations to government, which were published. Fai trading how competitive markets that work well are important for consumers, fair dealing businesses and fai trading performance; explaining its decisions transparently; promoting compliance by explaining to business what the law is and how the OFT will apply it; promoting consumer awareness and confidence; coordinating effectively with enforcement partners locally, nationally and internationally, and advising government on how to achieve the most effective regime for competition and consumers.
Officials specialising in the different legal and regulatory regimes worked closely together in each of these two groups. This enabled the OFT to look more easily at whole markets and to use all the tools available to improve them if they were not operating effectively.
The OFT used fai trading and competition fai trading, market fai trading and references, education and communication in appropriate combination.
These market fai trading groups sat alongside other OFT groups, mergers, and cartels and criminal enforcement. It was next to St Bride's Church. Based on expanded powers granted under the Enterprise Actthe OFT explored how fai trading market sectors operate, in order to help markets fai trading well.
It fai trading researched one particular market in detail or, for example, how codes of practice or professional rules operated across different fai trading in a range of businesses. The results fai trading the research, which were published, helped the OFT to assess what fai trading, if any, needed to be taken to protect consumers' interests.
They could recommend stronger enforcement, or a change in the regulations, or suggest an awareness raising campaign for consumers but will not always recommend intervention and when this is the case, will ensure that any non intervention decision is well informed and open to public scrutiny. Inthe OFT restructured fai trading response to Treasury proposals for splitting the department into separate consumer and competition regulators.
The OFT argued that to protect consumers effectively, it had to be able to use both consumer law and competition law approaches in a holistic fashion. Moving fai trading from division by legislative area, the OFT created divisions based on market sector. These officials are supported by a dedicated economics branch also including statisticians and financial analysts the Office of the Chief Economista legal specialist, and a policy advisory branch. In Maythe OFT investigated the charges being imposed on customers of credit card companies.
In its report, the OFT confirmed these charges were unlawful as they amounted to a penalty, rather fai trading the actual losses suffered by the companies. The OFT said it would be up to a court to determine such an fai trading based on the established legal precedent that the only recoverable cost would be actual costs incurred, i. The credit card companies did not produce evidence of their actual costs to the OFT, instead insisting their charges are in line with clear policy and information provided to customers.
Inafter customers complained to OFT about deceptive practices fai trading two websites operated by fai trading man in the state of California that misrepresented themselves as being British, it coordinated actions with the U. Federal Trade Commissionwhich began an enforcement action. Two fai trading later a consent decree required the companies to end those practices and represent their location honestly.
In Septemberthe OFT sent warnings to firms after its review of debt management companies found widespread problems, with firms putting profits ahead of fai trading care. Since it issued that warning, 87 firms have surrendered their licenses. In MarchConsumer Focus submitted a super complaint to the OFT raising concerns that transferring cash ISAs were fai trading too long and there were arbitrary rules preventing transfers into some of the most attractive accounts and that interest rates were not sufficiently transparent.
The OFT responded in Junewith a number of recommendations to ensure that transfers of cash ISAs work fai trading and that there is greater transparency of interest rates. This included the following agreements from cash ISA provider to:.
The investigation found widespread examples of Groupon's practices that breached consumer protection regulations. The OFT had specific concerns over practices involving reference pricing, advertising, refunds, unfair terms, and the diligence of its interactions with merchants. Groupon engaged openly and constructively fai trading the investigation and signed undertakings that it will change its practices to comply with the law.
In Januarythe OFT accepted commitments proposal from the defendant fai trading in lieu of any fai trading. The OFT's Rasmussen acknowledged there was a chance the set up could lead to further monopoly, but he said the OFT would be monitoring movements in the market.
The OFT was criticized for being ineffective and for many of its investigations leading to no action, in contrast to the more vigorous approach of United States United States Department of Justice Antitrust Division and European Union Directorate-General for Competition  regulators. Criticism has been levied, among others, in the cases of:. The National Audit Office issued a report in March on the Fai trading competition enforcement work  which indicated progress in 7 out of 10 objectives, but also concluded:.
The following bodies and companies were designated by the Secretary of State as being able to bring a super-complaint to the OFT: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
This article is about the former UK agency. Competition and Markets Authority. Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Retrieved 27 March Retrieved 23 December — via www.
Press Complaints Commission in Salisbury Square". Geograph Britain and Ireland. Retrieved 26 August Office of Fair Trading. Retrieved 5 March Retrieved 11 February fai trading Archived from the original on 2 April Retrieved 23 December Petrol firms must lower fuel prices or face OFT inquiry".