A spot check on 500 of the most popular shopping websites will be carried out in the run up to Christmas, a watchdog said yesterday.
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) will assess the sites to see whether they comply with and e-commerce rules, under which shopping websites should give consumers a postal and email address they can write to should things go wrong.
The ‘web sweep’ was announced by the OFT’s internet shopping team spokesman Steve Lisseter at the launch of National Consumer Week.
Fake online reviews were also singled out as a growing problem. This is where glowing reviews of products or services turn out to be posted by the traders themselves.
Which? editor Neil Fowler said: ‘Consumers can trust that any review they read in Which? is the result of rigorous research and not the opinion of the manufacturer of the product.’
Which?’s own forum, Which? Local, is heavily policed to make sure that only genuine reviews are posted on the site.
Bogus reviews will be outlawed next April when the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive comes into force.