The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is the UK’s principal competition and consumer protection authority. Having commenced a programme of work looking at how online businesses present choices to consumer in 2002, the CMA has now launched a new phase of its campaign, urging consumers to report businesses that engage in misleading sale tactics via a digital reporting form. 

The CMA has also published a letter to businesses detailing its ‘online red lines’ on misleading urgency claims and price reduction claims, which are used as types of pressure selling.

The purpose of the letter is to help online businesses understand their obligations under consumer protection law when making urgency claims and/or price reduction claims online. Businesses must not use urgency or price reduction claims that are misleading or put unfair pressure on consumers, as such tactics may lead to breach of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. The letter to businesses sets out the CMA’s view on the legislation, and explains the stance the CMA is likely to take in any enforcement action.

At a time when general cost-of-living pressures have made consumers even more eager than ever to find the best deals and save money, given the campaign by the CMA, businesses should urgently review their practices to ensure compliance.

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