Articles about Office Of Fair Trading

Google wins High Court fight with StreetMap over search results self-pluggery

Google has won a High Court case brought by StreetMap over anticompetitive business practices, one of several in the legal pipeline. Streetmap first sued Google in April 2013, arguing that Google’s search dominance favoured its own Google Maps product. In June 2007, the Californian multinational had begun promoting Google …
Andrew Orlowski, 12 Feb 2016

Ex-competition watchdog and TalkTalk adviser calls for Openreach split from BT

Another day, and another person steps forward to add their voice to the chorus of people demanding that BT breaks away from its Openreach division. This time, it's ex-Office of Fair Trading head John Fingleton who has been whinging about BT's powerful position in the broadband market in Blighty. As noted by the Financial …
Kelly Fiveash, 13 Nov 2015

UK watchdog grills big biz: So HOW do you use their 'consumer data'?

The UK's main competition regulator is looking to build its knowledge of how consumer data is collected, used and traded by businesses. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has asked businesses, trade bodies and other stakeholders to provide it with information about the commercial use of UK consumer data (10-page/262KB …
OUT-LAW.COM, 30 Jan 2015

What's up, Zuck? Facebook asks Brussels to probe its GIGANTIC WhatsApp deal

Facebook has asked the competition wing of the European Commission to probe its $19bn buyout of WhatsApp in a move to apparently nullify a host of investigations being sparked in multiple EU nations. According to the Wall Street Journal, which cited people familiar with the matter, Facebook appears to be keen to swerve …
Kelly Fiveash, 28 May 2014

Office of Fair Trading: IT deals lack effective competition

No 10 Downing Street’s G-Cloud strategy has been dinged by Britain’s competition regulator, the Office of Fair Trading, for lacking effective competitive on public-sector IT deals. An OFT report published on Tuesday identified what it called “key barriers” still standing in the way of new entrants challenging the big boys for a …
Gavin Clarke, 26 Mar 2014
iTunes App Store Hall of Fame

Europe: Apple. Google. Yes, you. Get in here. It's about these in-app bills

The European Commission (EC) has asked Apple and Google to send over some execs for meetings this week on reforming in-app payment systems. The EC wants to shake up the practice of in-game purchases by developers, which have in the past misled users, inflated bills, and circumvented parental controls on applications aimed at …
Shaun Nichols, 27 Feb 2014
Indonesia's spiffing No Spam logo

Payday loan firms are the WORST. Ugh, my mobe's FILLED with filthy SPAM

Messages from payday loan and gambling companies have come to dominate incident of mobile spam in the UK over recent months. SMS payday loan spam continues to be a mainstay of UK text message spammers, according to a study by Cloudmark. Although Office of Fair Trading investigations and related clampdown saw 19 of the 50 …
John Leyden, 28 Oct 2013

OFT probe: Do small UK firms get fair shake in public sector tenders?

Armed with data provided from suppliers and public sector IT bods, the Office of Fair Trading will now launch a probe into the state of the government tech landscape and whether SMEs are getting a fair share. Back in July, the competition watchdog put out a call for information as bids to discover if competition is alive and …
Paul Kunert, 15 Oct 2013
The GPS tracker plot imposed on Google Map

FTC chilled about Google's buyout of map app Waze - report

The US Federal Trade Commission has reportedly given the go-ahead for Google's purchase of mapping app Waze, deciding that the acquisition won't hurt competition. People familiar with the matter told Bloomberg that Google "won’t be challenged" by the commission over the deal, which will give Google yet more tech to use in …
ISC Compucolor II. Source:

Fingers crossed! Half a trillion quid in public cash entrusted to ageing gov IT

Nearly half a trillion pounds in tax and other revenues lining the UK government's coffers every year are processed by decades-old IT systems - and the National Audit Office is worried. The auditors, who this week published fresh research [PDF] on public-sector tech, estimated that £480bn of government revenue relied on legacy …
Paul Kunert, 12 Sep 2013
big red wheelie bin and pallet full of rubbish in London street

Amazon: OK, OK. We'll let traders flog tat more cheaply elsewhere

Amazon has agreed to stop forcing third-party traders to offer their cheapest prices on its online marketplace within the EU, Blighty's Office of Fair Trading has announced. The online bazaar had been banning traders from selling their products at a cheaper price elsewhere using threats of Amazon account suspension and payment …
The Register breaking news

Did Google's Waze gobble run rivals off the road? UK watchdog starts probe

Google's acquisition of free map app Waze has awoken Britain's competition watchdog, which today confirmed it was scrutinising the gobble. Israeli firm Waze Mobile was bought by Google in June this year for a rumoured $1bn. It gave the advertising goliath satnav-like software that, we're told, taps into the whereabouts of 50 …
Kelly Fiveash, 27 Aug 2013
g_cloud_uk_gov to drive stake through heart of big IT outsourcing deals

A wave of huge government IT outsourcing contracts finishing this year won’t be renewed as No.10 snatches back control of Whitehall technology from tech firms. Civil servants will now be expected to take greater responsibility for their departments’ systems and policy, and only engage with suppliers through G-Cloud. Ahead of …
Gavin Clarke, 08 Jul 2013

Government IT contracts to be scrutinised by UK competition watchdog

Britain's competition regulator plans to investigate whether too few suppliers command an unhealthy share of the government IT market. The Office of Fair Trading is seeking views from technology providers and purchasers working in the public sector to find out if it's tough for small businesses to bid for government contracts …
Kelly Fiveash, 03 Jul 2013
The Register breaking news

ISPs: Get ready to slurp streams from Murdoch's fat pipe

O2 has begun telling its home broadband customers that they will soon be shunted over to BSkyB's network. As exclusively revealed by The Register earlier this year, O2 - the trading name of Telefónica UK Limited, which is majority-owned by Spanish parent company Telefonica - was in talks with BSkyB about a possible sale of the …
Kelly Fiveash, 02 May 2013
The Register breaking news

MoneySupermarket: Google never warned us about payday loan AD BAN

Google temporarily pulled every single one of the pay-per-click ads of a major UK-based online price comparison firm from its search results over the weekend. According to Mountain View, the 24-hour ad-yank - which included the removal of ads comparing home and car insurance products - was a reaction to's …
Kelly Fiveash, 09 Apr 2013
The Register breaking news

Microsoft STALKS YOU even more than supermarkets do, says dev

Web-tracking is rife on technology vendor websites, with Microsoft among the worst offenders. Tech sites serve up even more trackers than the average online retailer, say browser privacy plug-in devs. Trackers follow surfers after they visit a website to serve behavioural ads elsewhere online. The technology started in the world …
John Leyden, 29 Nov 2012
The Register breaking news

WANTED: Actual HELPFUL info on price-comparison websites

The Office of Fair Trading has had a word with price-comparison websites, suggesting they up their game to improve consumer trust. The watchdog said it has written to 100 leading price aggregators urging them provide clearer information to would-be punters. The OFT found that, following a sweep of 55 such sites that operate …
Team Register, 23 Nov 2012

OEMs and sellers must pay refunds on software faults - OFT

Businesses that sell digital content to consumers should generally be responsible for providing refunds when services connected to that content fall below "quality standards" due to faults with the content, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has said. The UK's consumer protection regulator said that consumers should have a " …
OUT-LAW.COM, 30 Oct 2012

OFT writes volley of stern letters to naughty web retailers

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has warned well-known online retailers trading in Britain that some of them could face formal enforcement action from the watchdog if they failed to comply fully with consumer protection law. It said the regulator had, ahead of the busy Christmas shopping period, written letters to 62 leading …
Kelly Fiveash, 15 Oct 2012
The Register breaking news

Regulator spanks quiz line with record £800k fine

UK premium-line regulator PhonepayPlus has slapped Churchcastle Limited with the largest fine it has dished to date, ruling the phone-quiz host guilty of misleading and bamboozling callers with impenetrable terms and conditions. After it received 15 complaints, PhonepayPlus found Churchcastle guilty of targeting the elderly, …
Bill Ray, 12 Oct 2012
The Register breaking news

O2, Vodafone allowed to hop onto each other's towers

The UK Office of Fair Trading has formally approved O2 and Vodafone sharing infrastructure for their 2G and 3G networks, and probably upcoming 4G networks too. The plan to share network infrastructure was announced back in June, but had to be assessed by the Office of Fair Trading, which has now announced that it can go ahead …
Bill Ray, 01 Oct 2012

SCC handed top-level clearance to flog secure cloudy kit on G-Cloud

Reseller and integrator SCC has been cleared to sell secure cloud services across all government departments through G-Cloud. SCC has announced pan-government accreditation for nine services sold under its OptimizeCloud, which have been granted an Impact Level 2 and 3 rating by government inspectors. Under G-Cloud, companies …
Gavin Clarke, 23 Aug 2012
The Register breaking news

OFT makes special exemption for bumpkins' wayleave charges

Getting faster broadband connections in rural areas remains a bugbear for many of the locals who live in the harder-to-reach parts of Blighty. So clarification from the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) on competition law relating to wayleave rates has been unsurprisingly welcomed by landowners in the countryside today. The …
Kelly Fiveash, 23 Aug 2012
The Register breaking news's minimum booze price dream demolished

Economists at the Office of Fair Trading have quietly demolished the UK government's case for minimum alcohol pricing. Minimum pricing regulations are likely to see more booze sold than ever, they predict, contrary to the government's desire to curtail alcohol consumption. Profiteering is also likely, with higher alcohol …
Andrew Orlowski, 22 Aug 2012
The Register breaking news

$1bn for Instagram? Knock yourself out, Facebook - UK watchdog

The UK's merger and acquisitions regulator has cleared Facebook to snaffle up photo filter Instagram. Imagine the sighs of relief at the social network when the watchdog ruled that the $1bn acquisition won't affect competition. The Office of Fair Trading said there was no need to refer the proposed deal to the Competition …
The Register breaking news

SurfTheChannel Brit movie pirate gets 4 YEARS' PORRIDGE

The mastermind behind popular pirate site has been jailed for four years. A jury found Anton Vickerman guilty in June, but sentencing only took place today at Newcastle Crown Court. Vickerman, of Gateshead, earned at least £35,000 a month from the site, which actively curated links to infringing material. …
Andrew Orlowski, 14 Aug 2012
The Register breaking news

OFT probes Expedia and pals over hotel room price-fixing

Expedia, and InterContinential Hotels Group may have broken EU competition law by restricting the ability of travel agents to discount the prices of room-only hotel accommodation, thereby squeezing out their competition. That’s according to an Office of Fair Trading statement of objections issued Tuesday that follows …
Gavin Clarke, 31 Jul 2012
The Register breaking news

Court blocks 12 websites for 'misleading' Olympic ticket sales

Twelve websites are being blocked by British authorities under for the unauthorised sale of tens of thousands of tickets to the Olympics. The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) said it had secured an interim enforcement order from the High Court blocking the sites’ further sale of tickets and giving British authorities the ability …
Gavin Clarke, 26 Jul 2012
The Register breaking news

UK regulators eye up Facebook's $1bn Instagram bid

Facebook's bid to buy photo-sharing app Instagram for $1bn will be probed by the UK's Office of Fair Trading, according to the watchdog, which invited informal submissions of comment on Friday. The dominant social network's takeover plan of Instagram has concerned the OFT, which is worried that the photo app market could be …
Kelly Fiveash, 25 Jun 2012
The Register breaking news founder flogs website for £87m - the advice website for people seeking decent insurance, credit cards and other money deals - is being sold for £87m to Personal finance journalist Martin Lewis founded the site in 2003. The proposed deal awaits clearance from shareholders and regulators including the Office of …
Kelly Fiveash, 06 Jun 2012
The Register breaking news

Biz law reform: Bad news for lawyers, good news for hippies

Vince Cable presented his new Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill to Parliament on Wednesday afternoon, promising more action on competition, streamlined employment tribunals and a £3bn Green Bank that will funnel cash into eco-friendly energy and tech industries. The proposed changes to employment law will encourage work- …
Anna Leach, 24 May 2012

Groupon CEO plans to 'reinvent local commerce ecosystem'

In an open letter to shareholders Groupon CEO Andrew Mason has outlined plans to take the firm into local ecommerce services with a series of products designed to expand beyond its core business. "Groupon is setting out to reinvent the multi-trillion-dollar local commerce ecosystem. We are building an integrated suite of tools …
Iain Thomson, 07 May 2012
The Register breaking news

Ofcom: The Office of Screwing Over Murdoch?

Analysis There are several winners in the wake of News Corp's collapsed BSkyB takeover, but the most unlikely is one we’ve all overlooked. It might surprise you, too. In 2009 David Cameron promised a “bonfire of the quangos” if the Conservatives took power. He singled out one quango in particular: Ofcom. The uber-regulator was created …
Andrew Orlowski, 26 Apr 2012
The Register breaking news

OFT warns wallet-raiding debt collectors over web ads

Debt management companies have been warned over their use of the internet and social networking when promoting themselves or their services to consumers. The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) said the firms risk losing their consumer credit licences if they offer misleading information to consumers through the mediums. The …
OUT-LAW.COM, 27 Mar 2012
The Register breaking news

Groupon monstered in OFT complaints probe

Updated: Groupon will change the way it does business in Blighty after the Office of Fair Trading concluded a lengthy investigation into the company, which trades as MyCityDeal Ltd. The consumer watchdog kicked off a probe into Groupon in July following a high number of complaints from consumers about the "daily deals" firm's claims in …
Kelly Fiveash, 16 Mar 2012
The Register breaking news

Groupon's 'Botox' voucher push breached ad rules – watchdog

Groupon breached UK advertising rules when it promoted a cosmetics treatment on its site, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ruled. The watchdog said that an advert that featured on the popular consumer voucher operator's website for discounted "facial injection treatments" was in effect promoting Botox treatments …
OUT-LAW.COM, 15 Mar 2012

High Street chains vow to play fair on warranties

UK retailers have offered a number of concessions after the Office of Fair Trading had a word about their extended warranties on electrical goods. Dixons, Comet and Argos have all told the OFT, which was worried about unfair competition, that they will set up a warranty comparison website and provide punters with more …
The Register breaking news

Groupon's pants 'Weight Loss HOTPANTS' ad banned

Groupon has got into fresh trouble with the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA), this time over pants. Today's ruling on a Groupon advert for "Weight Loss HOTPANTS" is the latest in a string of recent advertising complaints upheld against the coupon-pushers – they most recently had problems pushing snake oil and boob jobs – that …
Anna Leach, 01 Feb 2012
The Register breaking news

Gov unveils plans to make tax-funded research freely accessible

All publicly-funded research data should be made freely accessible to benefit business and society, the government has said. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) said making the information freely available would help stimulate economic growth, innovation and entrepreneurism, and improve public sector …
OUT-LAW.COM, 22 Dec 2011
The Register breaking news

Insurance and IT firms agree rules on sharing price details

Six insurance companies and two IT software and service providers have agreed to change the way price information for motor insurance is shared following concerns that previous practices were violating competition laws. The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) said that the insurers shared price details about future motor insurance …
OUT-LAW.COM, 08 Dec 2011
The Register breaking news

Groupon still on ASA naughty step with more complaints upheld

Groupon has yet again been busted by the Advertising Standards Authority for misleading customers with separate promotions on its website. This brings the grand total of complaints brought against the e-coupon outfit to 50 for the year, and 2011 isn't even over yet. MyCityDeal Ltd, which trades as Groupon, was told that …
Kelly Fiveash, 07 Dec 2011

Apple probed by EC antitrust arm over ebooks market

Brussels opened a formal investigation into the sales of ebooks in Europe this morning to determine whether five publishers, with the help of Apple, had breached competition rules within the EU. In a statement, the European Commission listed News Corp-owned, US-based Harper Collins; France-based Hachette Livre, which is owned …
Kelly Fiveash, 06 Dec 2011
The Register breaking news

Ofcom proposes new rules on advertising deals

Ofcom said it was laying out the proposed new rules as required of it under the UK's Communications Act. Under the Act, Ofcom must set out a code of practice that sets standards on "the content of programmes to be included in television and radio services" that ensure that "there is no undue discrimination between advertisers …
OUT-LAW.COM, 04 Nov 2011
The Register breaking news

Debt collectors warned off pursuing punters on Facebook

Debt collectors should not be allowed to chase people who owe them money on social networking sites, including Facebook and Twitter, the UK's Office of Fair Trading has said. The OFT issued new guidance today that warned banks, law firms, tracing agents and debt collectors that using social networks to track down debtors was " …
The Register breaking news

OFT boss: 'Google is fantastic and should be applauded'

What happens when competition watchdogs lose their teeth – and roll over to have their tummies tickled? Via the influential chair of the Commons Culture Media and Sport Select Committee, John Whittingdale MP, comes a very interesting story today. Whittingdale relates a conversation with John Fingleton, the head of the Office of …
Andrew Orlowski, 07 Sep 2011
The Register breaking news

Debt-management biz may be barred from Facebook etc.

Debt management companies could be prevented from contacting consumers through social media after a regulator review revealed "widespread problems with misleading advertising". In a draft update to its debt management guidance, now out for consultation, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) warned that using social media such as …
OUT-LAW.COM, 02 Sep 2011
The Register breaking news

OFT probes dodgy sites that charge for free gov services

The Office of Fair Trading is investigating dodgy websites that charge punters for government services which are available for free. Given the crapness of government websites, it often takes some amount of digging before you find what you want. Enterprising conpersons are getting their sites further up the Google rankings and …
John Oates, 15 Jul 2011
The Register breaking news

Culture sec consults Ofcom, OFT on BSkyB merger

Updated Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt is writing to Ofcom and the Office of Fair Trading today to seek advice from the regulators over the proposed merger of television broadcaster BSkyB with Rupert Murdoch's News Corp empire. The move, reported by the BBC, follows the sudden shuttering of Sunday tabloid the News of the World. …
Kelly Fiveash, 11 Jul 2011
The Register breaking news

UK gov chews over Amazon Book Depository engulfment

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has invited members of the public to comment on Amazon's proposed acquisition of UK-based The Book Depository. "Anticipated acquisition by Inc. of The Book Depository International Limited – issued 5 July 2011," reads a notice on the OFT website. It then advises interested parties …
Kelly Fiveash, 06 Jul 2011