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NFDA supported by the Government in call for collective redressBack

The National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), which represents franchised car and commercial vehicle retailers across the UK, supports the Government’s announcement on Collective Action and other improvements to the enforcement of competition law.

Under new proposals outlined today by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), groups of consumers and companies will be able to challenge anti-competitive behaviour themselves more easily.

The NFDA has also succeeded in its case to extend the right to Collective Action under the UK’s Competition Act to businesses and their representative bodies, alongside other trade bodies.

Currently, this type of protection is only available to claims which has been made on behalf of consumers, and businesses have therefore had to rely on unsatisfactory and complex group litigation rules, but the new proposals will mean that it will be easier for legitimate representative bodies, such as the NFDA, to bring competition claims on behalf of members that have been harmed by anti-competitive behaviour.

Sue Robinson, NFDA Director, commented “The NFDA have long called for a more effective means of collective action and therefore we welcome any initiative which offers improved access to justice for both businesses and consumers who have incurred losses as a result of competition law.

“The NFDA have been an integral part of the consultation process. As well as making written submissions, we were present during many of the roundtable meetings where we were able to lobby on behalf of our members.

“Under the new proposals NFDA members, who are predominantly Small and Medium Enterprises, will now be in a stronger negotiating position.

In addition to the new rules outlined above, the Government’s reforms will centre on several additional areas:

  • The area of the CAT will be widened so that it becomes the major venue for competition actions in the UK. In this way, businesses will be able to challenge anti-competitive behaviour more effectively.
  • The Government plans to create a fast track process for more simple cases within the CAT which will support Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in their challenge of anti-competitive behaviour which is currently restricting them to grow.
  • There will be a limited op-out collective actions clause for competition law introduced by the Government to provide safeguards to discourage frivolous litigation.

The NFDA’s work on Collective Action represents a key part of its bid to ensure a fairer deal for its members. It continues to work in Brussels on measures which have been created to combat unfair commercial practices in business –to-business relationships.

 

 

Posted by Leana Kell on 04/02/2013