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News - 16 October 2009
Online retail under scrutiny
The Office of Fair Trading is to investigate online retail and marketing practices following allegations that some could be mis-leading.
Some online retailers have learnt that frequent or loyal customers are willing to pay higher prices because they trust the site, they know it and they use it without referencing competitors first. Pricing can therefore be personalised according to the customer’s behaviour, which is easy to profile if the customer is required to register.
The practice of 'drip pricing' is also under scrutiny. This is where prices are gradually increased during the buying process. And 'baiting sales' where only some goods are available at the advertised discount and consumers are lured in by the discount but often end up paying full price.
The watchdog will also look at high referencing and multiple selling.
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Office of Fair Trading