‘Loyalty penalty’ super-complaint

The CMA is investigating concerns that people who stay with their provider can end up paying significantly more than new customers, following a super-complaint from Citizens Advice into this matter.

Timetable

Date Action
27 December 2018 Statutory deadline for CMA response
28 September 2018 Super-complaint from Citizens Advice received

Contact

loyaltypenalty@cma.gov.uk

How to give your views

Our invitation to comment has now closed. The deadline for submitting evidence to the CMA was 14 October 2018. We sought responses to the following questions:

  1. What are your views on the existence, impact and root causes of a ‘loyalty penalty’ for consumers across markets; including the five identified by Citizens Advice (mobile, broadband, savings accounts, home insurance and mortgages) and any others?
  2. Are there circumstances in which you think a ‘loyalty penalty’ is not problematic at all or where it is particularly problematic, and if so why?
  3. What specific additional challenges do vulnerable consumers experience and should there be additional protections?
  4. What measures to tackle any ‘loyalty penalty’ should be considered, including those suggested by Citizens Advice and any others? Please explain how these measures would effectively address the problem.

We are now considering the submissions received, to inform our response to the Citizens Advice super-complaint.

We will respond to the concerns raised in the super-complaint by the statutory deadline of 27 December 2018.

Summary of super-complaint

The CMA received a super-complaint from Citizens Advice raising concerns about long term customers paying more for goods and services, which it refers to as ‘the loyalty penalty’. Citizens Advice has identified five key markets where it has concerns about the loyalty penalty, covering telecoms and financial services. These are: mobile, broadband, savings accounts, mortgages and household insurance.

What is a super-complaint?

The Enterprise Act 2002 (the Act) makes provision for designated consumer bodies to make super-complaints. A super-complaint, as defined by section 11(1) of the Act, is a complaint submitted by a designated consumer body that ‘any feature, or combination of features, of a market in the United Kingdom for goods or services is or appears to be significantly harming the interests of consumers’. Citizens Advice is a designated consumer body. Within 90 days after the day on which a super-complaint is received, the CMA must say publicly how it proposes to deal with it.

Sabrina Basran, Project Manager at the CMA explains how a super-complaint works

What is a super-complaint?

More information about what super-complaints are available in our short guide. Information on the process and who can make super-complaints can be found in our guidance ‘How consumer bodies can make super-complaints’.

Published 28 September 2018
Last updated 19 October 2018 + show all updates
  1. Invitation to comment has now closed. Statutory deadline for CMA response added to timetable.
  2. First published.