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Competition watchdog to crack down on financial loyalty penalties

Source: Competition and Markets Authority

The CMA has responded to a super-complaint by Citizens Advice, which raised concerns that not enough has been done to tackle the loyalty penalty being paid by longstanding customers in five markets: mobile; broadband; cash savings; home insurance and mortgages.

We have set out a package of reforms, both across markets and specifically in relation to the five markets identified by Citizens Advice. We believe these will achieve real changes and help existing customers get a fair deal.

We have also launched investigations in the anti-virus software market, as a first step in a wider programme of enforcement in this area.

We will provide an update on our progress to the Consumer Forum in six months. An update will also be published on our website.

Summary of super-complaint

The CMA received a super-complaint from Citizens Advice raising concerns about long term customers paying more for goods and services, which it refers to as ‘the loyalty penalty’. Citizens Advice has identified five key markets where it has concerns about the loyalty penalty, covering telecoms and financial services. These are: mobile, broadband, savings accounts, mortgages and household insurance.

What is a super-complaint?

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’. Citizens Advice is a designated consumer body. Within 90 days after the day on which a super-complaint is received, the CMA must say publicly how it proposes to deal with it.

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