How to report a breach of competition law

Reports from consumers and businesses about anti-competitive behaviour or problems in markets are vital in helping the ORR to ensure that the rail market is competitive and fair.

Who can report a breach of competition law?

We welcome information from industry participants, representative groups and the public about practices/conduct that may infringe competition law. You do not have to be directly involved in an activity to make a report about a breach, nor do you have to be a business. You may get in touch with us if you have information that any company supplying goods or services relating to railways is involved in activities prohibited by the competition law.

Leniency: businesses involved in cartel conduct

Under leniency arrangements, those who have participated in cartel activity can choose to give detailed confessions of their infringements in return for significant reductions or complete immunity from penalties for that infringement. We expect leniency applications to be made directly to the CMA. See our guidance on how we use our competition powers.

Whistleblowers

Although there is no set format for reporting a breach of the Competition Act 1998, to open an investigation we need to decide whether there are reasonable grounds to suspect an infringement of CA98.

Therefore, a report should outline the nature of the issues and should include as much information as possible. It should be supported by any evidence you already have, such as notes of telephone conversations, copies of correspondence and anything else you may consider relevant.

Business and other organisations

Although there is no set format for reporting a breach of the Competition Act 1998, to open an investigation we need to decide whether there are reasonable grounds to suspect an infringement of CA98.

Therefore, a report should outline the nature of the issues and should include as much information as possible. It should be supported by any evidence you already have, such as notes of telephone conversations, copies of correspondence and anything else you may consider relevant.

Passengers

If you would like to report anti-competitive conduct in relation to rail fares or station car park charges, please first read our complaints page about rail fares and car park charges, and the role of competition law.

Complaints under the Competition Act 1998 must be made in writing and be supported by evidence. If the person complaining does not supply enough information with the complaint, we will not be able to consider it.

Confidentiality

In order to investigate a complaint fully, we will generally need to divulge the information we have obtained to the company being investigated. If you consider that any of the information you have provided to back up your complaint contains commercial information relating to a business/individual, and that its disclosure might seriously damage those interests, you should clearly mark it as confidential and explain why you think it should be treated as such. However, you should try to keep the amount of such information to a minimum to enable your complaint to be pursued effectively.

If we consider it absolutely necessary to disclose any of the confidential information that you have provided, we will, where possible, discuss with you beforehand. We will not make public the identity of a complainant without his or her consent. There are circumstances where it is also possible to protect the identity of the complainant from the company being investigated. If you are concerned about the disclosure of your identity, you should raise this at the earliest opportunity.