The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has published for consultation the provisional findings of its market study into Isle of Wight ferry services. The findings set out the OFT’s provisional decision that, although there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that certain features of the market - namely the barriers to entry and the fact that routes can only support one operator – prevent, distort or restrict competition, it does not intend to make a reference to the Competition Commission.
The provisional findings state that, in exercising its discretion in this regard, the OFT has taken into account the fact that there is limited evidence of detriment to consumers and the apparent lack of a suitable or proportionate remedy. Nevertheless, the OFT has recommended that the ferry companies provide an increased level of transparency about their performance to customers to assuage customer satisfaction concerns. Interested third parties are invited provide their comments in respect of the provisional findings by 12 August 2009.