The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has lodged a "super-complaint" to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) calling for a reform of the beer tie and an end to excessive rents.
A super-complaint is a fast-track system open to designated consumer bodies.
CAMRA's super-complaint, A Fair Share for the Consumer, blames high rents and tied beer prices for driving pub landlords out of business and contributing to under-investment in pub facilities.
Mike Benner, chief executive, said that exploitation of beer tie arrangements and the unfair method of setting pub rents are harming consumers and society as a whole: "It is enshrined in EU law that consumers must get a fair share of the benefits arising from exclusive purchasing deals such as the beer tie, but this is often not the case.
"We hope that the OFT will act to deliver a fair share for Britain's 14 million regular pub goers. Reform of the beer tie with a framework of support from the Government is urgently required to save the pub from extinction."
Pub chain - Enterprise Inns said it welcomed the opportunity to present its evidence to an independent and non-political body.
In a statement it said: "We are confident that any investigation will conclude that the principle of the tie continues to confer significant advantages for tied tenants."
The OFT has 90 days to consider CAMRA's super-complaint and publish a response.
By Emma White
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