Office of Fair Trading to offer more online shopping protection

The antitrust regulator for Britain sat down with Google Inc, EBay Inc, and a few other companies to consult on a national strategy that would provide a higher level of protection for shoppers from the UK that spent approximately £38 billion pounds on online purchases during 2009.

The plan calls for the Office of Fair Trading to step in and issue fines, investigate, and file formal lawsuits when the industry lacks appropriate efforts to guard consumers against fraud and adequate competition.

OFT Director, Noah Curthoys, stated that the strategy should help increase growth and competition by utilizing methods that are focused on protecting online consumers, which will in turn help the UK become a leader across the globe in online enforcement.

Last year 9.5% of all UK retail sales were from internet transactions, which was a higher proportion than what was seen across Europe according to the OFT.  Additionally, the OFT stated that 71% of all retailers in the UK have internet sales portals compared to the European Union average of 51%.

The Government started to make plans after it found that 6% of those that make internet purchases have lost their money due to fraud online.

The OFT stated that it is still seeking input from consumers, businesses, and trade groups before it actually publishes a proposal this December.  In a press statement the group also said that it has consulted already with Amazon Inc, Cisco Systems Inc, and Microsoft Corp.