1The FCA is a competent authority under the CPC Regulation, which aims to encourage and facilitate co-operation between competent authorities across the EU in consumer protection matters. The FCA is a competent authority for the purposes of specified EU consumer protection laws27 in the context of the regulated activities of authorised firms and of breaches by UK firms concerning “specified contracts” as defined in the Financial Services (Distance Marketing) Regulations 2004 (for which see paragraphs 19.11.1 to 19.11.3).
26 Regulation (EC) No.2006/2004 on co-operation between national authorities responsible for enforcement of consumer protection laws.
27 These are the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Directive; the Comparative and Misleading Advertising Directive; the E-Commerce Directive; the Distance Marketing Directive; the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive; and the Consumer Credit Directive.
1All CPC competent authorities have a minimum set of enforcement and investigatory powers available to them to ensure that across the EU there is a robust toolkit to protect consumers. These are powers to:
- access any relevant document related to the breach;
- require the supply by any person of relevant information related to the breach;
- carry out necessary on-site inspections;
- request in writing that a person cease the breach;
- obtain from the person responsible for the breach an undertaking to cease the breach; and, where appropriate, to publish the resulting undertaking;
- require the cessation or prohibition of any breach and where appropriate, to publish resulting decisions; and
- require the losing defendant to make payments in the event of failure to comply with the decision.
1The powers are engaged when a person breaches one of the EU consumer protection laws which are scheduled to the CPC Regulation and the breach is one which harms, or is likely to harm, the collective interests of consumers who live in a member state other than the member state in which the breach was committed; where the person who committed the breach is established; or where evidence or assets relating to the breach are located.
1Under the CPC Regulation the FCA can request information from competent authorities in other member states to help it determine whether a relevant breach has taken, or may take, place. The FCA can also request that competent authorities in the relevant member states take action without delay to stop or prohibit the breach. All competent authorities are required to notify their counterparts in relevant member states when they become aware of actual or possible breaches of European consumer protection law.
1The FCA may use its powers under the Act or under Part 8 of the Enterprise Act (for which, see paragraphs 19.10.1 to 19.10.15 above) in order to fulfil its obligations under the CPC Regulation. The FCA will decide on a case-by-case basis which powers will enable it to obtain its desired outcomes in the most effective and efficient way. In the majority of cases this is more likely to be by using its powers under the Act.