CMA outlines recommendations to protect elderly and disabled customers

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A state-sponsored price comparison website is just one recommendation that arose during a recent roundtable debate hosted by the CMA and attended by the likes of Age UK and Which?.         

The roundtable was part of the CMA’s initiative to better protect vulnerable customers, such as elderly and disabled people, in markets and especially online marketplaces.

Other recommendations that came up during the roundtable included the government and regulatory authorities joining up to share data on vulnerable customers and incentivising companies to improve their data quality.

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There were calls for greater transparency by firms when using consumer data, with firms having to meaningfully disclose what prices are based on in real time and ensuring that data is used in consumer interests.

It was also suggested that there should be requirements on firms around transparency to explain in clear ways how information is used to generate pricing for customers.

Alongside recommendations, the CMA addressed a number of key concerns and challenges being faced by vulnerable people across markets.

These included the potential to take price discrimination further as a pricing strategy by more sophisticated use of consumer data.

There were also concerns about an increasing asymmetry of power in some digital markets and a need to understand consumer behaviour as part of any attempts to rebalance power.

Further to this, there was recognition that consumer vulnerability can fluctuate over time.

People in vulnerable situations or with vulnerable characteristics may not consider themselves vulnerable or might be reluctant to self-identify and register for priority services, the CMA said.

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Joe Peskett

The author Joe Peskett

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