OFT consults on fairness and competition in credit industry

The Office of Fair Trading has launched a consultation on its financial strategy in the wake of the current economic downturn.

The watchdog is asking for feedback from interested parties on two key themes.

Firstly, it is looking for comment on how the OFT should prioritise the promotion of fairness and responsibility between the credit industry and consumers in the short-term.

Secondly, the OFT wants to ensure that public decisions in coping with the financial crisis do not hamper competition in the long-term.

The OFT also plans to conduct a review of the unsecured credit market, ensuring that the fair treatment of customers is a key driver for economic growth.

The consultation will run until June 12, with a final Financial Services Plan to be published the following month.

John Fingleton, chief executive of the OFT, says: “With our focus on credit, we are addressing the area in which there is a real risk of short-term consumer harm while also ensuring that the sector that emerges from the current crisis is competitive and behaves fairly and responsibly towards consumers.
“Choice and competition involving existing players and new entrants are vital to delivering growth, prosperity and a good deal for consumers.
“There is a risk that this could be overlooked in the redesign of financial regulations, with high costs for consumers and the economy.”