As data analytics and pricing algorithms become common business practice in the digital era, there are growing concerns about the possibility that companies use such tools to engage in personalised pricing, a form of price discrimination that involves charging different prices to consumers according to their willingness to pay. While personalised pricing has the potential to improve allocative efficiency and benefit low-end consumers who would otherwise be underserved, in some occasions it can also lead to a loss in total consumer welfare. Moreover, if these practices are conducted using non-transparent or deceptive means, there is also a risk that they reduce market trust and create a perception of unfairness, potentially dampening consumer participation in digital markets.
In November 2018, the OECD Consumer Protection and Competition committees jointly discussed the ambiguous and multi-dimensional effects of personalised pricing, notably whether the risks of personalised pricing deserve a policy intervention and, if so, what are the most appropriate competition and consumer protection tools to address them.
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