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The OFT closed on 31 March 2014 and this website is no longer being updated. The OFT's work and responsibilities have passed to a number of different bodies. Read more.


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Search tips

To search this site, all you have to do is type one or more words that you wish to search for into the search box shown on each page, then click on the 'Search' button. A list of pages on the site which include all the words in your query will be displayed, listed in order of relevance.

To decide how relevant to your query each matching page is, the search engine takes into account the frequency of your search words in the page, and the proximity of the words to each other.

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Better searching

There is no need to use complete sentences, or to ask a question. Simply enter the words you are searching for, in either upper or lower case.

If you wish to search for a phrase, rather than for an individual word, you should enclose the phrase in quotation marks (ie "court action"). This means that the phrase as a whole will be searched for, rather than the individual words which make up the phrase. A phrase in a search can be combined with other phrases, and/or with single words as desired.

If you are not sure of the exact word you are looking for, you can use 'wildcard' searching to find all words beginning with a given word or part word.

To carry out a wildcard search, simply add an asterisk at the end of a word or part word in your search. Searching on 'licen*', for example, will find all pages containing not only the word licen, but also licence, licensing etc.

You can search the entire site or limit your search to a particular section by using the "Search by section" from the drop-down list so will find fewer, but more specific, results. If you want to include publications in your search, tick the 'PDF file' and 'Word file' boxes.

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Common words

Common terms such as 'and', 'the' or 'in' are excluded from search results. Because they occur so frequently in general use they tend to slow down your search and obscure the key terms you wish to search on.

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Search results

Search results are displayed up to a maximum of ten per page. If more than ten results are returned, results will be displayed over several pages, which can be accessed using the 'Next' and 'Previous' buttons displayed at the bottom of each results page. A maximum of five hundred results will be returned for each search.

To view a page from the results list, click on the link provided. If you want to return to the results list, use the 'Back' button in your browser.

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Searching within the results of an earlier search

If you have not found the information you need from your initial search, or have received a large number of results, you can use the 'Search within results' option to make your search more specific. Clicking on the 'Search within results' button on the search results page will allow you to add extra words to your original search, but now you will only be searching within the results of your previous query.

If you have used the 'Search within results' function, but now wish to perform a completely new search of the site, you should click on the 'New Search' button, or enter your new search terms in the search box at the top of each page on the site.

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Unsuccessful searches

If your search returns no results, the page displayed will give you a number of alternatives to find the information you are looking for. You may choose to perform a new search using different words (also see Search Tips, above), search within your initial search, or alternatively to use our Site map.

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