OFT Launches Domestic Electrical Goods Review

Author:Mr SJ Berwin's EU & Competition Team
Profession:SJ Berwin LLP

The OFT is to review the specific competition regulatory rules relating to the sale of domestic electrical goods in the UK. In parallel it will also consider a possible market study into warranties and repairs in the sector. Domestic electrical goods are considered to be an important part of the UK economy (with consumers spending £23 billion in 2009) and that these have become an essential part of everyone's everyday lives.

The OFT plans to focus its work on 'white' goods such as washing machines, dishwashers and fridges, and 'brown' goods such as TVs, DVD players and audio equipment. 'Grey' goods such as computers are to be excluded from the review.

Following an investigation by the Monopolies and Mergers Commission ('MMC') in 1997 (now the Competition Commission), an Order for the sector was introduced and undertakings were obtained to prevent suppliers of certain brown and white goods from recommending resale prices and to limit their ability to refuse to supply dealers.

Since the MMC investigation, however, new high street and online traders have entered the market and there has been significant product innovation. Part of the object of the review is to consider whether the specific competition regulation, set by the Order and undertakings, remains appropriate in the light of these and other changes.

At the same time the OFT is seeking...

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