Energy News 24/03/2017
Check out our weekly round up of the stories that have been making the headlines in the energy world over the ...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.”
Helpful, friendly and we saved lots of money!
"Jessica Purnell was helpful and friendly, she made the whole process easy and simple AND we saved lots of money thanks Jess"This review was posted by Melanie Baker on the 23rd of March 2017
Quick & Easy
"Kabibi was very helpful and the whole process was very efficient. The one small reservation I had was that I was phoned up by Kabibi almost immediately having received my online quote - which wasn't enough time for me to finish reading the quotes! Fortunately she was able to assist me in a greater savings on both Gas & Electricity, and so as long as the switchover is seamless I will remain very happy with the service."This review was posted by Amanda Brown on the 21st of March 2017
"I am very happy with Aaron's service. He has helped me save over £1000 a year on my businesses energy costs."This review was posted by R Thomas on the 21st of March 2017
So helpful and quick
"Prompt advice and help from Ashley. I hadn't realised changing energy suppliers could be so easy and quick. Thanks so much. Will definitely recommend!"This review was posted by charlotte on the 21st of March 2017
Easy and stress free
"I hate this time but f year when it's time to renew my electricity. I decided to use a comparison site this time round and never looked back. My advisor (Aaron Gallagher) was polite and knowledgable and efficiently changed my business."This review was posted by Kevin on the 21st of March 2017