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Super-Complaints

What is a super-complaint?

Section 11 of the Enterprise Act enables consumer bodies designated by the Secretary of State to submit “super-complaints” to the OFT where they consider that there is any market feature, or combination of features, such as the structure of a market or the conduct of those operating within it, that is or appears to be significantly harming the interests of consumers.

Who can bring a super-complaint

Only those bodies that have been designated by the Secretary of State can bring a super-complaint.

The super complaints process has been set up with the aim of strengthening the voice of consumers, as they are unlikely to have access individually to the kind of information necessary to judge whether markets are failing for them. Consumer groups can access individuals’ complaints to form a judgment on whether there is a problem and then take the necessary action.

However, it is important to remember that any body can still bring complaints to the OFT and the OFT will deal with them.  Super-complaints are simply a new route into the system – an initial “fast-tracking” to ensure that complaints about market failure which harms consumers are given consideration within a fixed time.

Which bodies have been designated so far?

The Consumers' Association, National Consumer Council and Citizens Advice were designated in July 2004. Energywatch and Watervoice were designated in January 2005. Postwatch, CAMRA and the General Consumer Council of Northern Ireland were designated in October 2005.

An application from What Car? is under consideration.

How can a consumer body apply to be designated?

Please read the guidance or the quick facts page (link on the right).

For further information on applying for designation please contact:

Marie Cawley
Consumer and Competition Policy Directorate
Tel: 020 7215 6771
e-mail: marie.cawley@dti.gsi.gov.uk