70% of people have been victims of “underhanded” online sales tactics

According to a new survey of 2,087 UK adults by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), a majority of people (70%) have experienced misleading sales tactics when shopping online.

The regulator said it had become “increasingly concerned” about the impact of “underhanded” tactics – including fake reviewssubscription pitfalls and hidden fees – on consumers.

In the survey, 85% of those who said they had experienced deceptive sales tactics also believed that companies were “dishonest” with their customers.

Discover how to spot a fake review with our detailed guide.

The main concerns of consumers

Respondents ranked their biggest online shopping concerns as:

  • Hidden charges (85%) – unexpected mandatory charges, fees or taxes added when someone tries to make a purchase online
  • Subscription traps (83%) – tricking a customer into signing up and paying for an unwanted subscription that may be difficult to cancel
  • Fake reviews (80%) – reviews that do not reflect a real customer’s opinion or authentic experience of a product or service
  • Pressure selling (50%) – a tactic used to give a false impression of the limited availability or popularity of a product or service

The AMC said such practices were carefully designed to manipulate shoppers and, as a result, caused stress and anxiety, as well as significant financial and emotional harm. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that these practices are often difficult to spot and people do not know how to avoid them.

He launched an awareness advertising campaign led by television presenter Angellica Bell, titled ‘The online scam pipe‘, which invites people to report deceptive practices to the Citizens’ Council.

Follow our online shopping guide for tips on how to stay safe and shop smart online.

Who? calls on big technologies to take their responsibilities

Who? has repeatedly exposed how unscrupulous sellers on marketplaces, including Amazon and eBay, trick consumers with fake reviews as well as substandard and sometimes dangerous products.

Last year, we launched a campaign demanding that new laws be introduced by the government to force tech giants to protect consumers online.

The #JustNotBuyingIt campaign, which has been signed by more than 88,000 people, calls on online businesses to take responsibility for harmful content, including fraudulent ads and fake reviews.

Sign our petition for tech giants to take more responsibility for scams, dangerous products and fake reviews.

CMA research respondent, Rocio Concha, Which? The Director of Policy and Advocacy, said: “We have repeatedly seen that shoppers are at risk of being misled online by companies using questionable tactics, such as fake reviews, which result in scams and often end up with poor quality products. not live up to expectations.

“The Government has set out plans to tackle some of these online exploitative practices as part of its consumer and competition reforms and is expected to introduce new laws in this year’s Queen’s Speech to ban these practices. as soon as possible.

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David A. Albanese