Updated CMA guidance and procedure

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has updated its guidance on Competition Act investigation procedure.

The changes introduced relate mainly to complainants, procedures for access to files and confidentiality, interim measures and the CMA's engagement with parties during the investigation. It clarifies that it is possible to make a complaint to the CMA anonymously using a non-name-based email account, a private masked phone number, by post or via a representative (such as a trade association).

In other CMA news, it has been announced that it is investigating the anti-virus software sector following concerns that some firms in the industry may not be complying with consumer law. The investigation will examine whether the business practices and terms and conditions associated with the automatic renewal of subscriptions are fair.

In particular, the investigation will consider:

  • Whether automatic renewal is set as the default option
  • Whether notification of renewal is sent and, if so, the timing of the notification
  • When renewal payments are taken and whether the renewed subscriptions are charged at a different price to the original subscription.