Summit to tackle consumers' Internet fears


Summit to tackle consumers' Internet fears

Hazel Ward

Lack of consumer confidence in e-commerce is to hit the agenda at a summit of European consumer associations due to meet in Brussels at the end of this week.

At the third annual assembly of European consumer associations, delegates from the region will be considering the reasons why people are still cautious about buying over the Internet, and discussing ways in which businesses and regulators can foster public confidence in e-commerce.

Speakers at the congress include Stefek Zaba, technical consultant at Hewlett-Packard and Alfred Tîpper from Stiftung Warentest, the German consumer advice organisation.

Jill Johnstone, head of policy and strategy at the National Consumer Council, is to chair the session, which will consider issues such as the difficulties of "faceless" customer services and alternative ways of resolving cross-border disputes.

Zaba said one of the most significant issues affecting consumer confidence in e-commerce is what to do when transactions go wrong. "If something goes wrong in a cross-border transaction, you're faced with two different legal frameworks and a language barrier. By setting up an alternative dispute resolution process, we can give both consumers and merchants somewhere to turn to," he said.

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This was first published in November 2000


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