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Worldwide Internet Sales Fall Below The Mark

An international trawl of the internet by trading standards officers in Warwickshire has revealed that many sites fail to provide adequate information to consumers.

Forty-eight agencies were involved in the sweep of more than 3,000 sites in 19 countries, including the USA, UK, Canada, Poland, Mexico and Australia.

The survey revealed that over half (52 per cent) of all sites visited did not provide any information on how to return a damaged product, or get a refund or an exchange.

More than 90 per cent of sites did not mention any parental/guardian requirements, or minimum age requirements, and less than half (39 per cent had a privacy policy.

The sites surveyed sold goods ranging from books to holidays. Warwickshire's Trading Standards officers looked specifically at sites which sold music, CDs and software.

Noel Hunter, Director of Warwickshire Trading Standards said:

"Consumers should be given adequate information on how to return an item if it arrives damaged, and be told what a company intends to do with the information they hold about their customers, but worryingly over half of all sites visited failed to provide consumers with any information on these areas at all!

“Just as worrying is the fact that many children are buying goods on the internet now, yet less than ten per cent of all sites visited mentioned any parental or guardian approval requirements or provided any minimum age requirements on the goods sold."

He added that officers are working with Warwickshire businesses with an internet presence to make sure they provide on their websites all the necessary information consumers need and that the law requires.
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CWN / Politics / Warwickshire County Council / 14 Mar 01

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