Online shopping just got safer

Posted by Josette Dunn on 17th March 2010

To celebrate World Consumer Rights Day (15 March), the International Consumer Protection Enforcement Network has launched a website to deliver better consumer protection world-wide.”As more consumers participate in global markets there is a strong and growing need for effective cross-border consumer protection,” ICPEN president and Australian Competition and Consumer Commission deputy chair Peter Kell said on Monday.

“The new user-friendly site,, will help ICPEN members deliver better consumer protection. It features sections tailored to the needs of consumers, consumer protection professionals and enforcement authority members of ICPEN.”

ICPEN is a cooperative forum of consumer protection authorities that encourages global cooperation aimed at combating fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair trading practices that affect consumers around the world. ICPEN’s global reach – with members from more than 40 economies – means it is well-situated to target the cross-border issues faced by today’s consumers.

The new website provides consumers with essential information including how to avoid scams and shop safely online. There are also tips on where to look for help and how to lodge a complaint in cross-border disputes. For example, consumers who believe they have been a victim of deceptive practices on the Internet can register their complaint at, ICPEN’s global online complaint mechanism which is available in seven languages.

For consumer protection authorities there is information on the activities of the Network and how to take part. This includes:

* International Internet Sweep Day, a coordinated crackdown on scams with enforcement authorities targeting misleading and fraudulent conduct on the internet and other forms of electronic communication, and
* Fraud Prevention Month, a month long education initiative that aims to inform consumers about fraud and raise awareness of scams through a series of events and activities.

Other features include a calendar of consumer-related events from around the globe, resources on best practice consumer protection and links to other consumer protection forums.

“We recognise on World Consumer Rights Day that more consumers are engaging in e-commerce and online shopping, and they encounter many cross-border issues along the way. The ICPEN website provides quick and easy access to information including where they can go for help if something goes wrong,” Mr Kell said.

For consumer protection authorities the website will assist in the detection, identification and response to illegal conduct affecting consumers across borders,” he said.