WARWICKSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL NEWS
Fails To Meet The Mark
40 per cent of goods ordered on the internet ran into problems,
according to a shopping survey by Warwickshire Trading Standards.
teamed up with colleagues in two other counties for one of the largest
surveys of internet shopping sites conducted in the country.
concluded that e-commerce companies still have much to learn about
survey has revealed that the shopping experience for consumers is
still extremely variable. Bold promises on attractive sites did not
necessarily lead to good service.
survey involved the attempted purchase of 102 items over the internet
from 100 UK based companies, and followed the whole transaction
through, from purchase and delivery to dealing with complaints.
of the small businesses came out of the survey well, with the best
delivering goods within 24 hours with a fully inclusive price and
offering a 30-day returns policy.
many large and sometimes well-known businesses delivered a
disappointing level of service, particularly when they relied upon
independent courier companies.
or non-delivery of goods was a typical problem, with many companies
failing to track goods to ensure delivery.
of the issues the survey highlighted included:
firm which took credit card details and then disappeared
vitamin supplement supplier whose site was not secure and who
breached security by e-mailing credit card details
national flower delivery company that failed to delivery - or to
check that the delivery had been made, but still managed to take
the money from the credit card
number of book companies who promised a guaranteed delivery date
on books that had not yet been published
confectionery company whose chocolates arrived crushed
clothing and accessory company who provided sunglasses that bore
no resemblance to their website image
local computer company who charged £10 to deliver a computer
mouse 15 miles
the 102 attempted orders, 38 per cent did not arrive within the time
specified, and 17 per cent did not arrive at all either because of
systems crashes, companies disappearing, items out of stock or orders
a third of orders were not confirmed whilst notification of dispatch
was made in less that half of all cases. Overall, problems were
experienced in 37 per cent of all attempted purchases.
Hunter, Director of Warwickshire Trading Standard Standards, said:
the advent of digital TV and more widespread use of new technology,
ever increasing numbers of people in the future will want to take
advantage of the many benefits offered by shopping on the internet.
our survey has revealed that presently, in many cases consumers are
experiencing a poor level of service and that in a number of
instances, consumers would have had their products quicker, and
cheaper, and with less hassle, had they visited their local High
survey will, I believe, help the Trading Standards Service to
identify those areas where consumers are receiving a poor service
and help officers to provide appropriate help and advice to
e-businesses to ensure they get things right."
added that officers have been encouraged by the announcement that the
new Distance Selling Regulations will become law on 31 October.
piece of European legislation will help to protect consumers buying on
line by stipulating that websites must include the name of the
company, a full description of the goods or services and prices
including taxes and delivery charges where they apply