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Minister calls for more transparency in online shopping

A recent NSW Fair Trading survey found that almost 40 per cent of online shoppers have experienced problems with their purchase.

Minister for Better Regulation Matt Kean said more than 1100 people participated in the online survey, with 39 per cent saying they’d had problems with a purchase made within Australia.

About half the issues related to goods being delivered late or damaged, or not arriving at all.

Other common problems included faulty products, items being different to those advertised and unexpected charges.

Those who purchased from overseas also reported a lack of clarity about currency, high shipping costs, communication issues and fraudulent use of their credit card.

“Australians spend more than $11 billion every year shopping online so it’s really important to remember you have the same rights buying online from an Australian supplier as you do when you walk into a shop,” Kean said.

“The survey revealed that online shoppers want to see more transparency about who they are buying from, and prefer to deal with online traders that had an ABN, registered business name and a physical address, as well as a published complaints procedure.

“There are however many simple ways to ensure you’re getting a fair go, like checking the supplier’s refund and dispute resolution policies, before buying online.”

The survey was conducted in conjunction with World Consumer Rights Day, which this year took the theme ‘Building a Digital World Consumers can Trust’.

Kean encouraged consumers to take steps to improve their online shopping experience, including:

  • Use a credit card or online payment service, like PayPal. That way, you can contact your credit card provider or online payment service for a chargeback or refund if you encounter problems with your purchase;
  • Search the supplier’s name online as this will often find reviews and warnings about the business; and,
  • Check the Complaints Register on the NSW Fair Trading website.
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