On 4 November 2018, the UK government and the Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) issued a press release confirming that they will examine the practices of retailers that target online consumers and charge them different prices for the same product through personalised pricing. Their research will cover a range of products sold online “such as holidays, cars and household goods”. The announcement is unsurprisingly silent as to whether legislative changes or changes to the CMA’s enforcement policy will result.
This is the latest in a line of UK government and CMA initiatives regarding personalised pricing. On 31 October 2018, the Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”) announced an investigation into personalised pricing for motor and home insurance policies after finding that insurance companies were price discriminating between customers; and on 8 October 2018, the CMA published a Working Paper on the ‘use of pricing algorithms to facilitate collusion and personalised pricing’ (see our recent Covington Competition Blog post).