Moving Premises and Business Energy
We know that moving into new businesses premises can be stressful and important tasks, such as organising your...Read More
Competition law is one of the areas that SMEs may (understandably) choose to ignore. But the massive penalties for getting it wrong could make our guide an important read.
Competition law is a big and overlooked risk for UK small to medium sized businesses: an independent report commissioned by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) found that 77% of companies either had a poor grasp of competition law or hadn’t heard of it at all.
Serious misunderstandings were uncovered: only 55% of businesses knew price-fixing was illegal, and 18% wrongly thought it is acceptable to agree prices with rivals, with a further 27% unsure.
The most common misconception is perhaps the most dangerous: 31% thought it was acceptable for businesses to agree not to sell to the same customers as each other (it isn’t).
For those involved in bids, other misunderstandings abound: 23% thought it was acceptable to discuss prospective bids with competing bidders, with 29% unsure if bid-rigging was illegal (it is).
The consequences can be severe – more than enough to send an average business under. For breaches of competition law, a company can be fined 10% of global turnover. Directors may be disqualified from managing a company for up to 15 years and offenders can be jailed for up to 5 years.
What can you do to avoid falling foul of the ever-stricter regulation?
The CMA is keen help SMEs stay compliant. Their new suite of materials should help you understand the dos and don’ts of competition law.
The first thing to stress is that competition is an essential part of business, and those that think they are being unfairly disadvantaged can use the law to level the playing field.
The often dense and technical of competition rules has meant the SMEs are disadvantaged by a lack of resources. However, the CMA’s at-a-glance guide to competition law offers some simple insights.
The CMA’s checklist on what to avoid is a great place to start. Their three most damaging behaviours to watch out for are:
For those who think they know it all already, a short online quiz can show up any gaps in understanding.
As Alex Chisholm, CMA Chief Executive, said: “The potential consequences of breaking the law are very serious. That’s why it’s important that businesses know what to look out for and report this to the CMA to prevent other businesses and consumers from losing out.”
John Allan, Federation of Small Businesses National Chairman, agreed: “Competition law is a crucial part of doing business in the UK and … [we] welcome efforts to help small businesses grasp the law in this area – as the potential fallout of getting it wrong could be severe. Competition policy applies to businesses of all sizes and we encourage our members and all small businesses to make the most of this valuable resource.”
"So helpful, especially as I found the contract renewal on my new half hourly meter quite baffling (KVA charges, MOP contracts and other "extras" all had me scratching my head). Arron took great care to explain everything clearly and told me everything I needed to know in order to be able to compare prices from all avenues on a level field. He didn't pester me endlessly for a decision did exactly as I asked in terms of call backs and quotations. Such a refreshing change to deal with someone who listens. Arron has helped me renew my contract next month through switchmybusiness in a very straightforward and painless way on an excellent rate. Fabulous service, thank you Arron."This review was posted by Louise on the 18th of January 2018
A lovely lady called Bhavni phoned me …
"A lovely lady called Bhavni phoned me very quickly after I went online. She couldn't have been more helpful, explaining all the different rates for me. She managed to save me a huge amount per year - gave me her direct phone number if I needed to phone again - like gold-dust! even gave me a termination letter to send to my supplier. Couldn't have been easier and will definitely use again - and hope I get to speak to Bhavni again. Thanks again"This review was posted by Julie Dickie on the 17th of January 2018
Excellent service and hassle free
"Excellent service and hassle free, Jessica Purnell handled everything for me and got us a great deal, even giving advice on how to cancel the previous contract. Thank You"This review was posted by Neville Blenkinsopp on the 17th of January 2018
"Brilliant service - very quick to the point and explained everything very well! Would recommend to anyone who is looking to change their electricity supplier."This review was posted by Jess on the 17th of January 2018
Excellent service straight to the point …
"Excellent service straight to the point and the process was painless!"This review was posted by Nick K on the 16th of January 2018