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The OFT closed on 31 March 2014 and this website is no longer being updated.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.

OFT’s work and responsibilities after 31 March 2014

As part of the Government’s reforms to the arrangements for competition, consumer protection and consumer credit regulation, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) closed on 31 March 2014, and its work and responsibilities passed to a number of different bodies.

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Advice

If you want advice or help with a consumer problem in England, Wales and Scotland, please contact the Citizens Advice consumer service (call 08454 04 05 06 or visit the Advice Guide). This service provides free, confidential and impartial advice, and shares the information it collects with the UK's enforcement authorities. It replaced the OFT-run Consumer Direct on 1 April 2012. For consumer advice in Northern Ireland contact Consumerline (0300 123 6262).

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Competition and consumer protection

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) brings together the Competition Commission (CC) and the competition and certain consumer functions of the OFT in a single body. The CMA promotes competition, within and outside the UK, for the benefit of consumers.

The CMA was established under the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 and came into being in October 2013. It takes on its full powers and responsibilities, such as competition law enforcement, market studies and investigations, and merger control, on 1 April 2014. Visit the CMA's pages on GOV UK for more information.

On 1 April 2013, local authority Trading Standards Services took on the lead role in enforcing consumer protection law, including at the national level. The OFT, and from 1 April 2014 the CMA, retains powers to enforce consumer law, with lead responsibility on unfair contract terms, using them to tackle widespread practices and market conditions that make it difficult for consumers to exercise choice or to seek out the best deal - for example, where consumers are prevented from switching suppliers by unfair contracts or where misleading pricing practices are widely used. On 1 April 2014 these powers transferred to the CMA.

A number of sectoral regulators share concurrent competition and consumer powers with the OFT, and will continue to share these powers with the CMA. This includes Ofcom, Ofgem, the Office of the Rail Regulator, OFWAT, the Civil Aviation Authority, the Financial Conduct Authority, the Utility Regulator of Northern Ireland (URegNI) and Monitor (competition powers only).

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Consumer credit

On 1 April 2014, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), became the regulator for the consumer credit industry. The FCA authorises firms to undertake credit-related activity, and enforces consumer credit law. For more information see the FCA's website. (Information for those who hold or have applied for a licence under the regime operated by the OFT before April 2013 is available on the Consumer credit changes page.)

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On 1 April 2014, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which regulates the financial services industry in the UK, becomes the regulator for the consumer credit industry under a new, different regulatory regime. The FCA will authorise firms to undertake credit-related activity, and enforce consumer credit law. For more information see the FCA's website. Information for those who hold or have applied for a licence under the regime operated by the OFT before April 2014 is available on the Consumer credit changes page.)

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Anti-money laundering

On 1 April 2014, the OFT's anti-money laundering powers and responsibilities passed to the FCA (in respect of consumer credit financial institutions), and to Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (in respect of estate agents).

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Regulation of estate agents

On 1 April 2014, the OFT's powers to prohibit or warn estate agents, and to authorise estate agents redress schemes, passed to Powys County Council.

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Consumer Codes Approval Scheme

The Trading Standards Institute (TSI) has been operating a successor scheme to the OFT's Consumer Codes Approval Scheme since April 2013. See more details on the TSI scheme.

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Consumer and business education

Since April 2013, Citizens Advice and Citizens Advice Scotland have had responsibility for consumer education in Great Britain. Consumer education in Northern Ireland is the responsibility of the Consumer Council for Northern Ireland. Most business guidance on consumer law has been the responsibility of the Trading Standards Institute (TSI). The TSI, for example, took over the hubs developed by OFT on the law around sales of goods and distance selling. The CMA may issue specific guidance for businesses where it has conducted a market study or other in-depth analysis of business practices in a particular sector, or in relation to the application of unfair contract terms legislation, where it retains a lead role.




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