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OFT promises better protection for UK web users

OFT to develop better e-consumer rights

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If you get no joy from the online shop, try and claim from your credit card company

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is developing an strategy document designed to provide greater online protection for UK consumers, including when they buy goods and services over the internet.

It has published an e-Consumer Protection consultation paper, which forms part of the longer term national strategy for consumer protection on the internet.

The strategy document proposes three broad areas for action including: 

  • Empowering web users by explaining their rights and the benefits of buying and selling online 
  • Helping consumers to become more internet-savvy 
  • Providing them with the tools to resolve any problems they may encounter online.

Find out how you can protect your rights online by reading Which?’s free

Helping you stay safe online

The OFT’s e-commerce strategy also identifies potential measures to promote greater online protection by clarifying the levels of protection available for consumer-to-consumer sales – such as via eBay – and working with agencies to reduce spam. The OFT also hopes to develop low-cost, effective solutions for checking websites that don’t comply with protection rules. 

It is also looking into the option of strengthening payments systems for online purchases.

The OFT’s plans also identify some underlying principles in tackling online consumer protection by ensuring consumers receive consistent levels of protection online and offline, and enabling industry or voluntary organisations and consumer groups to participate in improving consumer protection.

If you want to have your say on the OFT’s proposals, email eprotection@oft.gsi.gov.uk. The consultation closes on 13th October and the final strategy document will be published in December.

If you’d like to bank online, read Which?’s advice on how to do so sensibly

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