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Government asserts consumers’ legal right to online purchases

13 June 2016 - 10:05 by Graham Miller

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Retailers now no longer have the option of steering clear of the e-commerce market as this week the government ruled that consumers have a legal right to carry out safe shopping online, according to the Telegraph.

This comes after golf club manufacturer, Ping, convinced outlets selling its products to only offer them in bricks and mortar stores, effectively eradicating its brand from the web.

The Competition and Markets Authority got involved in proceedings and came to the conclusion that by taking this action, laws were being breached.

This means that Ping will no longer be able to prevent retailers from offering its products via safe shopping online. And it is all in the name of improving competitiveness in the retail market.

In the past, it was easier for retailers to avoid competing with rivals because, in most cases, people were limited to a specific geographic area, meaning certain stores effectively had captive audiences.

The age of e-commerce has changed all that, empowering consumers and letting them compare prices on products across a range of digital outlets.

Of course, Ping is not the only company to ban the online sale of its products, so the fact that this practice has been determined to be illegal could impact on many other businesses.

Industry experts argue that brands which choose to ban the sale of their products online are merely acting in order to protect their businesses and improve profits, since in the cutthroat world of e-commerce it is all too easy for price wars to squeeze margins too far for smaller firms.

However, the CMA is clear in its ruling that consumers have a right to be able to shop online for all items which are available for sale on the high street in the UK.