March 15 marks World Consumer Rights Day. Consumer organisations are using the day to call for better protection for consumers from online shopping traps.
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Consumer NZ chief executive Sue Chetwin says the number of shoppers buying goods online has grown at a dizzying pace, but so too have unfair practices.
“More than two million Kiwis are shopping online, spending over $4 billion every year. But unfair practices, such as adding sneaky booking or service fees to prices, are hitting consumers’ wallets,” Ms Chetwin says.
Consumer NZ research found extra fees added to the advertised price could be costing shoppers as much as $68 million each year.
“We’re calling for stricter pricing rules to make sure consumers aren’t misled about what they have to pay. Retailers shouldn’t get away with hiding extra fees in the fine print,” Ms Chetwin says.
Unfair and unclear contracts are also tripping up online shoppers, she says.
“A common example is making a one-off purchase of a product and then finding you’ve been signed up to an ongoing service. When retailers don’t make the terms of an offer clear, they risk misleading consumers and breaching the Fair Trading Act.”
Consumer NZ is encouraging anyone stung by a hidden fee or an unfair term to contact it at email@example.com.