Helping People Get a Better Deal: Learning Lessons about Consumer Facing Remedies

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Under the category of ‘soft law’, we are submitting a paper which describes cutting-edge thinking for the use of remedies to address competition concerns arising on the demand-side of markets (‘consumer-facing remedies’), in particular their selection, design, testing, and implementation. This is a topic with which competition and consumer-protection agencies around the world are increasingly grappling. The paper itself has been co-authored by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and reflects the lessons-learned from an 18 month programme of work between the UK’s competition authority and sector regulators, as well as a discussion with other agencies at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). It discusses when and how demand-side shortcomings can harm competition and consumer interests, a detailed taxonomy of potential interventions, and the practical realities of trying to robustly test proposed remedies, all-the-while providing real-world examples where particular approaches have worked well and where they have worked less well. The paper aims to provide readers with an understanding of how to approach these sorts of problems if they are encountered in their own jurisdictions / areas of influence.