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December 19, 2018updated 18 Dec 2018 5:06pm

CMA responds to customer loyalty complaints / EU publishes no-deal Brexit plans / ECJ offers opinion on Facebook’s ‘like’ button

By Luke Christou

Good morning, here’s your Wednesday morning briefing to set you up for the day ahead. Look out for these three things happening around the world today.

CMA responds to customer loyalty complaints

The United Kingdom’s Competition and Markets Authority will today publish its response to the super-complain submitted by Citizens Advice in September titled “excessive prices for disengaged consumers”.

The charity organisation believes that consumers are being penalised for showing loyalty towards brands that offer certain essential services, such as mobile phone contracts and internet access.

According to the compliant, many customers are paying far more for a service than new customers are.

It was found that some 80% of bill payers are paying significantly more for at least one essential service than they could be if they changed supplier. However, 64% of consumers are unaware of this, with older, lower income and less educated consumers among those more likely to be overpaying.

The CMA, the government department responsible to ensuring fair competition between businesses, must today confirm whether it believes this is a legitimate issue and what action it intends to take to resolve it.

European Union publishes no-deal Brexit plans

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker will today publish its plans on the European Union’s preparedness for a no-deal Brexit.

The chaos that unfolded in the United Kingdom’s parliament last week has raised concerns that the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement agreed between negotiators in November might be thrown out if assurances aren’t given on the proposed Northern Ireland backstop. With EU negotiators refusing to renegotiate on the deal, a no-deal Brexit, where the UK would depart the EU without agreements on future trade in place, seems increasingly likely.

The contingency plans are expected to address eight areas of concern: aviation, financial services, customs, road transport, climate policy, rights of citizens, livestock and animal products and personal data. Any measures implemented in the wake of a no-deal Brexit are expected to last for nine months, up until the end of 2019.

COA decides legal status of Uber drivers

The United Kingdom’s Court of Appeal will issues its judgement in the case centred on the legal status of drivers employed by ride-hailing application Uber.

The COA took on the case after Uber contested a 2016 ruling by the Employment Tribunal which confirmed the app to be a transportation company, rather than a platform to connect drivers and customers.

It was decided that drivers are employed by the company and are therefore entitled to minimum wage and sick pay. However, Uber disputed this, instead referring to its drivers as “independent contractors”, and is now attempting to overturn the decision.

There are concerns that, should Uber win its appeal, the company’s business model could spread to other industries, with businesses opting to employ workers as independent contractor in order to cut costs.

The hearing will take place at the Royal Courts of Justice, London, starting at 3:30pm London time.


Yesterday’s highlights

Elon Musk’s Boring Company tunnel is about to open– but its real impact will be above ground

UK’s first drone delivery over 4G sees Vodafone bring Christmas cheer

How AI gave whisky tasting a 21st-century update