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Online shopping has long way to go

Buyers still wary of internet transactions

Online shoppers still aren't getting value for money according to a study by Consumers International, a global federation of more than 260 consumer organisations.

The second report conducted by the group, entitled Should I buy? Shopping online 2001, revealed some serious problems in the way online retailers conduct transactions and discovered that online retailers still cannot shop with confidence.

"Although there have been some improvements since 1999 [when the last survey was conducted], business still has some way to go both in reliable fulfilment of orders and in improving the information of the site," said Anna Fielder spokesperson for Consumers International.

The report revealed six percent of goods ordered failed to arrive and, to add injury to insult, in several cases customers had been charged for them and never received a refund.

In 17 percent of cases where a refund had actually been awarded, it took over 30 days to be credited to the shoppers account.

"A world where many goods failed [to arrive] and traders don't send refunds does not inspire confidence in consumers to shop online," added Fielder.

The UK came almost at the bottom of the table for delivery times, with only 69 percent of goods arriving on time just above Germany where only 50 percent arrived within the stated deadline.

Consumers International wants governments to tighten up the laws surrounding online sales and name and shame those e-tailers that do not comply.

One in five companies failed to comply with at least one area of current EU Law.

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