The digital economy has the capacity to deliver increased choice and improved customer service. However, the digital economy presents rapidly growing challenges to the ACCC. Speaking at the National Consumer Fraud Week in Melbourne yesterday, Sims welcomed the challenges of the online economy.
"Australians are increasingly going online to buy goods and services, taking advantage of the benefits from increased competition, choice and convenience while businesses also have new opportunities to gain new customers,” Sims said.
“The ACCC has made online competition and consumer issues a compliance and enforcement priority. Consumer protection matters on our radar include fake online reviews, group buying websites, price comparison websites, unfair contract terms online, product safety online, and consumer guarantee rights.”
Actively monitoring the proliferation of online scams, the ACCC has announced a 65 per cent increase in scams in 2012. The ACCC is working with the Australian Institute of Criminology to understand the risk factors that contribute to individuals becoming scam victims.
“This sort of research will help both law enforcement agencies and industry to know what trigger points scammers use to push people’s buttons, and therefore how we can target our response through education, disruption and, where necessary, legal intervention,” Sims said. “However, there is still a lot more research to be done in the Australian context around what factors lie behind why people respond to and subsequently get duped by scams.”
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