Know your competition law

SMEs are lagging behind their bigger brethren when it comes to knowledge of the Competition Act and how it could benefit them, according to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

Research conducted on behalf of the OFT showed less than half the respondents from businesses employing between 10 and 19 people were aware of the Competition Act, compared to four-fifths of those from organisations with more than 200 employees.

Consequently the OFT is running the Championing Competition campaign to demonstrate how competition can be good for business and should be utilised not feared.

As well as promoting the benefits of competition the campaign is intended to help businesses avoid anti-competitive behaviour, which can result in hefty fines, something that three out of five UK businesses are susceptible to, having taken no action to ensure compliance.

The main reason for this is that many companies mistakenly believe that competition law is not relevant to their organisation, but the OFT is keen to remind all businesses they need to be aware of issues such as price-fixing, cartels and bid-rigging.

“This campaign will aim to improve understanding of competition law and how it can help SMEs,” commented Sir John Vickers, OFT chairman. “We want to help them seize opportunities that competition brings. It is important for SMEs to be aware of their rights and responsibilities under competition law so that they can take best advantage from competitive markets.”

UPDATE: Since this article was written The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has closed. Its responsibilities have been passed to a number of different organisations and you can find the relevant details here.

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