British OFT publishes strategy for enhancing consumer protection in E-Commerce

E-Commerce activity in Great Britain is growing rapidly. Yesterday the Office of Fair Trading issued a strategy to protect consumers shopping online in the UK.

Market investigations found that only around five firms are fully complying with consumer law for online shopping. Furthermore surveys show that one in four consumers worry more about online shopping than offline. Overall, one in seven consumers has experienced a problem when buying online, of whom 37 per cent have since been reluctant to buy online again.

The strategy sets out to help prevent misleading selling, deceptive online advertising and malicious practices. These measures include:

  • More effective enforcement, inter alia, by means of improving intelligence sharing and co-ordination between the relevant institutions.
  • Enhancing business compliance by means of raising awareness of consumers’ online rights, for example, by working together with website designers to ensure that compliance is built into new sites.
  • Empowering consumers - consumers need to have clear information about their rights when things go wrong.

OFT Senior Director for Strategy and Communications, Barney Wyld, said: “The UK has a vibrant internet economy, with strong online participation and generally high levels of trust. However the way we shop online is constantly changing and organizations protecting consumers need to be highly responsive to emerging or complex online shopping problems.”


For further information:

Source: OFT