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Newsagents launch legal challenge against watchdog

The National Federation of Retail Newsagents has launched a legal challenge against the Office of Fair Trading after it decided against holding a review of the news industry.

Earlier this year the federation submitted what it called an ‘overwhelming’ case for a review after a survey revealed that cover price rises put people off buying newspapers and magazines.

It was turned down on the grounds that consumers would not be likely to benefit significantly in terms of lower price, increased availability or greater convenience as a result of an update review.

Now the NFRN has joined with the Association of Convenience Stores to launch the joint legal challenge to the Competition Appeal Tribunal against the watchdog’s decision.

The retail associations say that the decision appears to rely on evidence from publishers and wholesalers that they believe to be faulty, whilst evidence provided by the retail side appears not to have been fully taken into account.

NFRN national president Kieran McDonnell said: “The NFRN has been fighting for justice for its members for more than 15 years through the competition authorities and the continued failings in the industry are too serious not to pursue this appeal.

“How else are we to achieve the radical change that is necessary to the way we are supplied in order to stem declining sales and reverse falling standards that is preventing us from providing a better service offer to customers?

“So long as the OFT fails to act they continue to support a market that is rife with anti-competitive practices. This legal action is the latest step in our on-going fight for fairness and equality in serving our customers.”

The case has been presented to the Competition Appeals Tribunal.