Unscrupulous traders need to be fully aware that they cannot get away with exploiting elderly and disabled people, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has said.
Lord Andrew Tyrie, chairman of the CMA, which is responsible for strengthening business competition and preventing anti-competitive activities, outlined the importance of supporting vulnerable customers at its most recent symposium.
Lord Tyrie said: “Companies and traders across the UK need to know that if they’re ripping people off, and exploiting the vulnerable, the CMA may be round to see them.
“It has already been accepted, in principle, that the CMA’s powers need to be bolstered, including giving us the power to fine firms if they break consumer protection law.
“And if it turns out that we still don’t have all the powers we need, we will ask for them. All options are on the table.
“That includes more vigorous enforcement, tough market wide intervention and legislative change. Staying where we are is not an option.
“As part of a re-examination of the CMA’s legislative framework, I have asked for further work to be done on how the regime could be strengthened better to protect the vulnerable.”
Lord Tyrie was speaking the CMA’s symposium earlier this year, for which the transcript has just been released.
Some months back, the CMA published a new annual plan listing 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”.