The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is launching a new phase of its ‘Online Rip-Off Tip-Off’ campaign, urging UK consumers to report online shopping scams.
One in four shoppers has fallen victim to deceptive online sales tactics, and the watchdog is keen to crack down on businesses that break the law.
The The Competition and Markets Authority campaign encourages consumers to spot and avoid misleading sales tactics, including hidden charges, pressure selling, subscription traps, and fake reviews. It also seeks to encourage people to report companies that engage in these tactics through a new digital reporting form.
The regulator’s survey found that 67% of respondents said the cost of living pressures have made them more desperate to find the best deals, while 71% believe they are “saving money” by purchasing deals that are on offer – some of which may not be genuine.
The survey also found that one in four UK consumers had fallen victim to sneaky online sales tactics.
The CMA is focusing on urgency and price reduction claims, warning online businesses that they cannot use tactics that mislead or put unfair pressure on consumers. Urgency claims include any scarcity, popularity, ‘act fast,’ or time-limited claims presented to consumers online. Price reduction claims mean any discount or special offer that refers to a higher comparison price.
George Lusty, senior director for consumer protection at the CMA, said, “Now more than ever, every penny counts, and the CMA is concerned that some businesses are using underhand tactics designed to part shoppers from their cash.
“This poll is just the tip of the iceberg as we believe the true number of victims of these rip-offs is much higher as they are often extremely difficult to spot.”
Consumer champion Angellica Bell, co-presenter of The Martin Lewis Money Show, supports the campaign. Bell said:
“We know that the rising cost of living is putting a strain on shoppers across the UK. Some online businesses are using sneaky sales tactics to make us part with our money when household budgets are already stretched.
“We all feel the pressure of securing bargains, making us more susceptible to being ripped off. It’s frustrating when this happens and it’s time we call out these online retailers and report them to the CMA.”
The CMA’s ‘Online Rip-Off Tip-Off’ campaign is a valuable tool for consumers who want to avoid scams and report businesses that engage in deceptive practices.
By raising awareness of the problem, the regulator encourages shoppers to be more vigilant and report companies that engage in these practices.
Consumers can use the digital reporting form to alert the CMA to scams and deceptive tactics, enabling the regulator to take action against businesses that break the law.