Office of Fair Trading looks at online problems faced by small and medium sized businesses

Views of small and medium sized online businesses are being sought by the Office of Fair Trading to better understand online company models, structures and problems. Former research commissioned on the relationship between large internet firms and smaller companies showed many diminutive firms have found shelter under the banner of bigger contemporaries but that difficulties are still encountered each day.

The research also showed that the innovation that has occurred in online commerce has not been matched by offline systems, such as the supply of goods and delivery.

The OFT wants small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to get in touch with their opinions in a bid to better understand the diverse and growing nature of online communities.

Chief Executive John Fingleton said: “The open and competitive nature of the internet has yielded a staggering pace of innovation, and the growth of online commerce has brought with it new business models, new firms, and whole new markets. Online markets are an important driver of greater customer choice and higher economic growth, and the OFT has a key role to play in ensuring that they work well”.

He added: “Much OFT work, such as our enforcement of consumer law online, and our ongoing e-Protection strategy, aims to ensure that consumers have reason to feel safe online, and confident about using the internet as a commercial channel. The OFT also has an important role to play in ensuring that online markets remain competitive. As we continue to look at these markets we are keen to ensure the right balance is struck between letting markets resolve problems through innovation, and intervening where necessary”.

Business can contact the OFT by sending an email to