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Office of Fair Trading: Complaints

Volume 461: debated on Monday 4 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will take steps to simplify the procedure for making complaints to the Office of Fair Trading. (139647)

At present any individual or organisation is able to bring a complaint to the Office of Fair Trading. On consumer matters this complaint should be made via Consumer Direct—either by calling 08454 04 05 06, or via the internet or in writing. On competition matters a complaint may be made to the OFT directly on 08457 22 44 99, or via their website or in writing. However, where a complaint relating to a competition matter is received via Consumer Direct, it will be passed to OFT.

Additionally, there is a separate process for designated organisations acting on behalf of groups of consumers to bring “super-complaints”. These require a certain standard of evidence, but OFT must deliver a reasoned response to the super-complaint within 90 days.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many complaints the Office of Fair Trading has received in relation to uncompetitive practices in the newspaper industry in the last 12 months. (139648)

The OFT has received 14 specific, individual complaints regarding competition issues in the newspaper industry over the last 12 months.

The OFT is also currently in the process of conducting work in relation to the distribution of national newspapers and magazines, further details of which are included in OFT press notices of 31 May 2006 and 8 March 2007. During this process the OFT has invited and received representations from a wide range of industry parties, some of which raise concerns about competition.