Upswing in Online Rip-offs: CMA Report  

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CMA-Finds-70%-of-UK-Consumers-Have-Been-Ripped-Off-Online

The survey shows that the biggest concern of eCommerce shoppers was about hidden charges (85% of respondents), followed by subscription traps (83%), fake reviews (80%) and pressure selling (50%).

Seven out of every 10 people in a survey of more than 2,000 adults across the U.K. have experienced potential rip-offs online, according to new Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) research, which also notes 85% of survey respondents believed businesses were being dishonest with customers.

Taking the research another step further, 83% of those surveyed said they were less likely to buy again from the companies they believed were being dishonest.

To combat the upswing in online rip-offs, the CMA announced it has launched The Online Rip-Off Tip-Off, which will help shoppers spot and avoid misleading online practices.

“With almost one-third of all retail purchases now taking place online, after the pandemic fueled a surge in internet shopping, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has become increasingly concerned about the impact of these ‘sneaky’ sales tactics on consumers,” the authority said in its announcement.

The survey shows that the biggest concern of eCommerce shoppers was about hidden charges (85% of respondents), followed by subscription traps (83%), fake reviews (80%) and pressure selling (50%).

“As online shopping grows and grows, we’re increasingly concerned about businesses using misleading sales tactics, like pressure selling or hidden charges, to dupe people into parting with their cash,” said CMA Chief Executive Andrea Coscelli.

“None of us would accept these tactics in the real world, but we might not realize how much they influence what we buy online, so we’ve launched The Online Rip-Off Tip-Off to help hand the power back to shoppers,” he said.

CMA’s campaign has support from Citizens Advice, where consumers can report problems with misleading online practices.

The rate of suspected digital fraud attempts jumped 17% worldwide year over year in Q2 2021, led by a 393% increase in the gaming industry and a 156% jump in fraud for travel and leisure companies.

In third-party fraud, so-called bad actors mask their identities to stage cyberattacks, while first-party fraud involves disingenuous actors using their own identities in malicious ways.