July 29 2004. Three consumer organisations are the first to be formally given the power to make "supercomplaints" to regulators about potential behaviour which damages consumer interests.

The organisations, the National Consumer Council, Consumers Association and Citizens Advice are to be allowed to raise supercomplaints to protect the interests of consumers.

The fast-track system allows these organisations to raise potential market and competition abuses with the Office of Fair Trading and other regulators in a formal way, and get a guaranteed response within 90 days. Regulators will then be able to take any necessary action.

Supercomplaints are complaints to market regulators about features of a given market which appear to be harming consumers. They are not about individual cases (though individual cases may be used as part of the evidence) but about the market as a whole.

The OFT has set out guidance on what constitutes a supercomplaint.