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Majority of e-commerce sites not offering adequate consumer protections

10 September 2013 - 14:11 by Graham Miller

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A new study carried out by the Society of Chief Officers of Trading Standards in Scotland (SCOTSS), which included the participation of 22 individual councils, has found that just over two thirds of e-commerce sites do not adequately comply with laws relating to consumer rights.

The Scotsman reports that there were a number of different breaches discovered, relating to a variety of areas of the process.

Twenty percent of the online outlets examined were found to exclude the original delivery charge when refunding the cost of a product, which is against current legislation.

Forty three percent of sites did not alert customers to the fact that they can cancel any order placed, while a fifth snuck in additional fees quite a way into the transaction process, making it less likely that consumers would duck out.

More than two hundred e-commerce sites were examined as part of the sturdy and a spokesperson for SCOTSS said that officers of the organisations were currently taking action, to ensure that those offending retailers were brought up to code.

The accuracy of the information provided by retailers, both online and off, is something that consumers should value almost as much as the ability to carry out safe shopping online.

Of course, when you make a purchase in-store you are rarely confronted with the rights and requirements that are available to you, so if anything, a well designed e-commerce site has a legal obligation to empower consumers much more than high street rivals.

The biggest names on the market, including Amazon, are better at sticking to trading standards than smaller firms, as well as having the means to offer safe shopping online on a larger scale, so use your head when making purchases on the web to avoid disappointment.