Bad business tactics out as economy grows

Kate McCann
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COMPLAINTS about anti-competitive behaviour by businesses in the UK are down as the economy begins to recover, new research has shown.

The Office of Fair Trading, now the Competition and Markets Authority, recorded a 50 per cent fall in complaints about bad practice in 2013.

The number of businesses prompted to phone in and report anti-competitive incidents fell from 2,165 in 2012 to just 975 a year later, the watchdog said.

James Geary, head of commercial contracts at law firm EMW, said: “Anti-competitive behaviour by businesses became much more prevalent during the recession, but that has fallen away as the economy has returned to growth.

“When businesses are struggling with stagnating or falling revenues, they are more likely to be driven to cartel-type behaviours. As economic growth delivers more sales, there is far less pressure than there was during the recession to pursue cut-throat and potentially anti-competitive tactics.”

Complaints about bad business behaviour rocketed in 2008 following the recession. In 2007 just 801 incidents were reported, a year later this rose to 1,862 and remained around the same level for five years, peaking at 2,165 in 2012.