Markets which serve disabled and elderly people are likely to be more closely scrutinised in the next year as the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) places a new focus on protecting some of the most vulnerable customers in society from unfair trading.
In its newly published annual plan, the CMA, which is responsible for strengthening business competition and preventing anti-competitive activities, listed protecting vulnerable customers as a top priority.
The CMA’s report stated that it will take “a particular interest in the needs of, and harm suffered by, vulnerable consumers”. It wants elderly and disabled people to be able to get a good deal from traders and be protected from unscrupulous trading.
While the CMA will be scrutinising all sectors for the impact they have on vulnerable customers, the mobility market is inherently much more likely to be under the authority’s close gaze.
The report also indicated that the CMA will be pursuing cases in smaller markets as it believes SMEs are less aware and understanding of competition and consumer law.
In the last few years and recently there have been a number of CMA cases involving mobility companies.
In February disability charity Scope said that a lack of competition in the mobility equipment market could be contributing to disabled people paying over the odds.
Scope called on the CMA to conduct a review into competition in the market to gauge whether the industry is working effectively for disabled people.
The CMA’s annual report added: “We are also aware that we do not have all the answers, and in the coming year we will work with partners, including groups that represent vulnerable consumers, to learn more about how people’s circumstances can affect their ability to engage in markets and get a fair deal.”