The UK Government and the Competition and Market Authority ("CMA") has announced that they are conducting new research which will explore the practice of retailers targeting online shoppers, and offering each shopper a different price for the same goods and services. Instead of stating one price for all online shoppers, some retailers offer each of them a personalised price, based on their online "journey".
The research will focus on whether and how personal data, such as address, travel history and marital status, is being used by the retailers, as well as whether such practice is common and how businesses are applying it through different mediums, such as search engines, apps and compassion tools. In addition, it will also examine the extent to which these personalised pricing practices actually prevent shoppers from obtaining the best deals.
The UK's Financial Conduct Authority ("FCA") has also announced that it has launched a market study to explore how general insurance firms use personalised pricing practices for car and home insurance policies, after the FCA identified hidden discrimination between customers. The reason for the FCA's market study is to ascertain whether and how it should intervene in order to improve this market. The market study will mainly focus on the outcomes for consumers stemming from pricing practices; the fairness of the outcomes arising from these practices; their impact on competition; and will find remedies to address any harm that might be found by the FCA.
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