Cash boost to safeguard e-consumers

The government is to award $400,000 to address consumer protection issues in e-commerce.

The government is to award $400,000 to address consumer protection issues in e-commerce.

The cash boost will form part of a "comprehensive e-commerce package", due to be announced in Thursday's budget.

Government says it wants consumers to have similar levels of consumer protection when buying over the Net as they have when buying in stores.

"This funding will create a specialist position for someone to work specifically with government agencies, business and community sectors to ensure consumer issues are properly represented in government policy related to e-commerce development," says Consumer Affairs Minister Phillida Bunkle.

Bunkle says part of the work being done in this area is a proposed code of conduct for e-tailers.

It would ensure customers know who they are dealing with, what they are getting, information is secure and private, and problems could be solved quickly and fairly.

The proposal released in March this year, would draw on newly-developed OECD guidelines, and mirrored a code recently announced in Australia.

"I have said before that I want to make e-shopping safe for consumers. I am determined that consumers should be given appropriate protection whether they are shopping in traditional bricks and mortar or clicks and mortar.

"Obviously that means that action in New Zealand needs to be consistent with and support international developments ... the budget funding I alluded to earlier will go towards ensuring this happens," she told a meeting of e-commerce stakeholders in Auckland last week.

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Tags budgete-commerceconsumer protectione-business

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