The Financial Services Consumer Panel (FSCP) has published a position paper on consumers and competition. The FSCP notes that firms appear to compete vigorously, but they strive to inhibit consumers’ ability to shop around, by developing complicated products, with obscure or misleading prices and terms and conditions.
To remedy this, the FSCP calls for:
- competition authorities to take robust and effective action to tackle firms’ exploitation of consumers’ behavioural biases and over-complicated products and pricing;
- the FCA to be tough on firms that penalise their loyal and trusting customers;
- the FCA to develop robust measures of consumer outcomes, and require firms to make these widely available, and incorporate them in digital comparison tools; and
- competition authorities and regulators to act now to make sure the new generation of automated shopping around and switching services do not simply repeat the problems of the past and further weaken rather than strengthen consumers’ position in the financial services market.