Online shopping warning for consumers and retailers

Fair Trading Minister Anthony Roberts today said a new online shopping survey by Fair Trading revealed consumers are being put at risk by small and medium businesses failing to provide a secure webpage for payments and consumer information.

In launching Fair Trading Week 2012, Supporting Local Communities, Mr Roberts said Australian consumers spend more than 11 billion dollars every year online and it is vital those transactions are secure.

“73 per cent of all online sales are within Australia and local retailers need to repay that faith by ensuring consumers are protected,” Mr Roberts said.

Fair Trading commissioned the research after receiving more than 7,000 complaints about online shopping in the last financial year.

In September 2012, Stancombe Research & Planning surveyed 1,000 consumers and 200 small to medium businesses across New South Wales.

48 per cent of businesses surveyed do not use a secure webpage for payments or collecting personal details and only 33 per cent of businesses have a risk management procedure in place to deal with security breaches.

“Online shopping is growing every year but it just takes one bad experience for a retailer to lose the trust of a consumer,” Mr Roberts said.

“As we head into the busy Christmas shopping period, I urge all small to medium retailers to review their security measures to protect consumers and their business.”

According to the report, only 59 per cent of businesses publish terms and conditions on their website, just 52 per cent provide a returns policy online and only 45 per cent of businesses outline delivery times and costs on their website.

Mr Roberts said Fair Trading has produced a fact sheet to help small businesses become more secure and successful online, as well as new webpages for consumers, which include online shopping tips and suggested security precautions.

“These are important tools which give consumers the key steps to follow when shopping online while also helping businesses improve their security procedures,” Mr Roberts said. For more information visit www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au

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