Web site consumer disclosure falls short
June 10, 1999
by Julia King
(IDG) -- Consumers aren't getting all of the information they should from online retailers, according to a new study of English language Web sites released today by the Federal Trade Commission.
Of 200 Web sites surveyed worldwide, only 9% provided customers with order cancellation information. And just over one in four sites disclosed refund policies. Additionally, the survey found that only 29% of the U.S. Web sites explicitly stated their country of origin.
Results of the survey, which examined 100 domestic sites and 100 foreign sites selected randomly by Dun & Bradstreet, were released as part of a two-day FTC workshop on the global electronic marketplace.
Among other things, participants are gathered to discuss how to monitor the Internet for cross-border fraud.
"The informal nature of the medium, the lack of personal contact between buyer and seller [and] the geographic dispersion of sellers create new and unprecedented opportunities for consumer abuse through fraud and deception," said FTC Chairman Robert Pitofsky in his opening remarks at the workshop.
If not effectively addressed, Pitofsky said, those issues "can undermine the full development of global competition itself."
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