If we consider that the law has been infringed, we will write to those concerned to explain the case against them and give them a chance to respond, both in writing and by meeting with OFT officials. Further details of the OFT's procedures in this respect are contained in the publication Under investigation?
If we subsequently decide there has been a breach of competition law, we will notify the infringing businesses and publish the decision in the Register on our website. We may issue directions (e.g. ordering the business to change or terminate the offending agreement or stop the offending conduct). If a business fails to comply with our directions, we may seek a court order to enforce them.
Alternatively, we may conclude that there are no grounds for action. In this case we will notify those concerned and may publish a decision to this effect on our website.
In certain urgent circumstances (e.g. where there is a real danger of serious permanent harm to a particular business), we may require a business to comply with a temporary order (e.g. to stop certain conduct) while we complete our investigation.
Instead of making an infringement decision, we may be prepared to accept commitments (i.e. binding promises) from a business relating to their future conduct. We must be satisfied that the commitments fully address our concerns. Commitments have the same force and effect as directions by the OFT.
We will not, other than in exceptional circumstances, accept commitments in cases involving cartels which include price-fixing, bid-rigging, output restrictions or quotas, sharing or dividing markets or cases involving the serious abuse of a dominant position.
Further information is available in the publication Under investigation? And in the more detailed guideline Enforcement (which incorporates the OFT's guidance as to the circumstances in which it may be appropriate to accept commitments).
Back to: Competition Act 1998