Competition and Markets Authority campaign highlights misleading online sales tactics

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has launched its first-ever consumer campaign, “The Online Rip-Off Tip-Off”, in hopes of educating consumers about deceptive online sales tactics .

Created in collaboration with her new behavior change agency 23red, the integrated campaign is led by consumer champion Angellica Bell which shines a light on the underhanded practices used by some online retailers, such as pressure selling, the trappings of subscription, hidden fees and fake reviews.

23red has also produced a Bell-led advice film that translates the online market into the real world to highlight how to spot and avoid underhanded sales tactics.

A study by the CMA, with the help of YouGov, found that seven in 10 shoppers had experienced deceptive online practices. The results revealed that 85% believe companies using these practices were being dishonest with their customers, while 83% would be less likely to buy from them in the future.

Anthony Wright, Director of Communications at CMA, comments: “This campaign is designed to help consumers spot underhanded tactics being used by some online retailers that we simply wouldn’t accept in the real world. Tactics like subscription traps and hidden fees infuriate people, which is why I think this campaign will resonate. Others won’t realize how much these tactics influence what we buy online, so it’s important to shine a light on them and put the power back into shoppers.

“We continue to crack down on anything that could break the law, such as fake reviews. But to tackle this issue from every angle, it’s critical that people are also armed with the tools they need to make their shopping online in a more informed way.”

The campaign – which spans public relations, paid, digital, social media and broadcast channels – is backed by Citizens Advice, to whom consumers can report concerns about misleading practices they have encountered online. line.

The “Online Rip-off Tip-off” campaign is part of the CMA’s wider commitment to combat misleading advertising and misleading communications in the UK. Other recent initiatives by the body include its Green Claims Code, which tackles greenwashing and misleading environmental claims by brands.


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David A. Albanese