OECD urges government and industry to protect consumers’ interest in the case of online purchase

OECD countries have agreed a new approach to protect the rights of consumers in a better way and to make online shopping safer. The OECD countries have called on national authorities and business to make it easier, cheaper and quicker for people to resolve complaints and get compensation when they are unhappy with goods or services they have bought online. Consumers should also have the right to band together to take legal action against a firm, known as “collective action lawsuits.” Companies are asked to set out clear, simple policies that explain what steps customers should follow to make a complaint and then have it resolved.

The OECD Recommendation on Consumer Dispute Resolution and Redress offers a roadmap for consumer protection agencies to address the practical and legal obstacles that many consumers face when trying to exchange goods or get their money back from firms, in their own country or abroad. Most OECD countries already have laws or self-regulated schemes to help consumers, ranging from small claims courts  to credit card protection and collective action lawsuits. But most of these were designed before e-commerce took off and are poorly suited to handling cross-border complaints. OECD has called on member countries to develop bi-lateral or multi-lateral arrangements in order to improve international judicial co-operation and use technology more effectively, making it easier to share information across borders.