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ACCC Targeting “Deceptive” Online Retail Practices

Rod Sims has highlighted “manipulative or deceptive advertising in the digital economy” as one of the ACCC’s key priorities over the next two years.

In the annual Committee for Economic Development Australia address in Sydney today, the outgoing boss said it was an economic necessity to practice consumers from the “growing number of manipulative techniques to exploit or pressure them, and other practices that seek to distort or disregard their consumer choice in the digital economy.”

Among the techniques the ACCC will be targeting are low-stock warnings, false sales countdown timers, targeted advertising using a consumers’ own data to exploit their individual characteristics, pre-selected add-ons, design interfaces that discourage unsubscribing, manipulation of online reviews and search results, and comparison websites and social media influencers who don’t disclose commercial relationships including paid promotions.

Rod Sims, ACCC.

“To realise the full benefit of online markets consumers and businesses must be confident to engage online,” Sims said.

The ACCC will also “closely scruntinise” businesses making environmental and sustainability claims, as well as those profiteering from supply chain woes.

“Where we have evidence of businesses taking advantage of the situation to fix prices or share markets, we will take appropriate action,” Sims said.


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