The Government is launching an investigation into how online retailers exploit personal data to charge consumers different prices for the same items through so-called personalised pricing, amid concerns that vulnerable consumers are being over-charged.
Personalised pricing involves customers being charged different amounts when searching for the same products, tailored to the customer journey they have taken.
A new indepth study by the Competition & Markets Authority will explore whether and how personalised pricing makes use of personal data points such as a consumers’ address, marital status, birthday and travel history.
It will explore how widespread this practice is, how businesses are applying it through different channels like search engines, apps or comparison tools and the extent to which personalised pricing is preventing shoppers getting the best deals.
Business Secretary Greg Clark said: “UK businesses are leading the way in harnessing the power of new technologies and new ways of doing business, benefitting consumers and helping them save money.
“But we are clear that companies should not be abusing this technology and customer data to treat consumers, particularly vulnerable ones, unfairly. The research we are undertaking will help us better understand how we can ensure businesses work in a way that is fair to consumers.”
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