Competition Commission publishes statement of issues following payday lending market investigation

Following the Office of Fair Trading’s referral in late June 2013, the Competition Commission has revealed the framework for its consideration of payday lending in the UK. On 14 August, the commission published its Issues Statement, highlighting the areas it will focus on during the market investigation. So far the commission has identified a number of elements it feels raise cause for concern, including: limitations on customers’ ability to search and identify the best-value product; impediments to consumers changing supplier; the imbalance in market power; and barriers to entry to the sector.

It is intended that the Issues Statement will help those submitting evidence to the Competition Commission and ensure relevant information is received. Comments and evidence are to be submitted to the commission by 20 September 2013.

First, the commission has established what it defines as a ‘payday loan’ and so will be considered in the investigation. An extremely wide definition has been adopted, including: unsecured loans; generally taken out for less than 12 months; and where the amount borrowed is less than £1,000…

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