Consumer policy

Work of the Committee on Consumer Policy

 

MissionKey Work ProductsCurrent IssuesEvents

 

The Committee on Consumer Policy (CCP) was established at the OECD in 1969. It brings together senior consumer policy and enforcement officials from OECD governments, along with experts from civil society, trade unions and the business. The CCP’s bi-annual meetings are supplemented by ad hoc meetings and public workshops. Non-member economies are also involved in various Committee activities.

MISSION

Consumer policy aims at strengthening the performance of markets by providing protection for consumers from fraudulent or misleading commercial practices and from unsafe products. 

Empowered consumers spur business to innovate and thus drive competition and productivity. In this way, the CCP supports the OECD’s overarching objective of achieving the highest sustainable economic growth and raising standards of living in OECD countries and worldwide.

The CCP is a body that seeks to enhance such policies by (i) carrying out research and analysis on topics of common interest, (ii) exchanging information on current and emerging issues and trends, (iii) developing guidelines and policy principles for addressing problematic areas, and (iv) examining ways to strengthen policy outcomes through law enforcement co-operation between governments and with other stakeholders. 

KEY WORK PRODUCTS

• OECD Guidelines and Recommendations:

2008 OECD Policy Guidance on Online Identity Theft: guidance exploring how prevention through education and awareness of stakeholders could prevent online identity theft.

2008 OECD Policy Guidance for Addressing Emerging Consumer Protection and Empowerment Issues in Mobile Commerce: guidance aimed at identifying some of the challenges  consumers are increasingly faced with in the emerging mobile commerce marketplace. Focus is made on the (i) limited information disclosure on mobile devices; (ii) protection of minors; (iii) unauthorized use of mobile devices.

2008 OECD Policy Guidance for Protecting and Empowering Consumers in Communication Services: a set of principles to help ensure that these markets are fair and transparent for consumers.

2007 OECD Recommendation on Consumer Dispute Resolution and Redress: The Recommendation provides a framework to governments for facilitating domestic and cross-border consumer dispute resolution and redress. It sets out principles for ensuring effective consumer dispute resolution and redress mechanisms for consumers acting both individually and collectively. The Recommendation is an important complement to the Cross-border Fraud Guidelines.  

2003 OECD Guidelines for Protecting Consumers from Fraudulent and Deceptive Commercial Practices Across Borders (“the Cross-border Fraud Guidelines”): establish a common framework to enable OECD countries to combat  fraudulent practices through closer, faster and more efficient cooperation among their consumer protection enforcement agencies. Growth in consumer use of new technologies and in particular of the Internet to purchase goods or services in foreign countries was a principal reason for developing the Guidelines.

1999 OECD Guidelines for Consumer Protection in the Context of Electronic Commerce (“The E-commerce Guidelines”): help ensure that consumers are just as protected when shopping online as when buying from local stores or ordering from a catalogue. The Guidelines set out the characteristics of effective protection for online business-to-consumer transactions. 

• Implementation reports:

E-commerce Guidelines: Report on Consumers in the online Marketplace: the Guidelines Three Years Later (2003).

Cross-border Fraud Guidelines: Report on the implementation of the 2003 OECD Guidelines for Protecting Consumers from Fraudulent and Deceptive Commercial Practices Across Borders (2006).

• Research and analysis:

Telecommunications and the Internet: Report on Mobile commerce (2007), Scoping Paper on Online Identity Theft (2008), Report on Enhancing Competition in Telecommunications: Protecting and Empowering Consumers (2008).

Good Practices for Consumer Policy: Report on the Effectiveness of Enforcement Regimes (2006); Report on OECD Member Countries’ Approaches To Consumer Contracts (2006); Report on Consumer Information Campaigns Concerning Scams (2006).

Copy control and Digital Rights Management: Report on Disclosure Issues related to the use of Copy Control and Digital Rights Management Technologies (2006).

Alternative Dispute Resolution and Redress: Legal Provisions Related to Business-to-Consumer Alternative Dispute Resolution in Relation to Privacy and Consumer Protection(2002); Report on Consumer Dispute Resolution and Redress in the Global Marketplace (2005) providing background for and summarising the OECD Workshop on Consumer Dispute Resolution and Redress in the Global Marketplace, held in Washington, D.C., in 2005.

Payment Cardholder Protections: Report on Consumer Protections for Payment Cardholders (2002), which includes a consumer education piece: Using Payment Cards Online: Frequently Asked Questions for Payment Cardholders.

CURRENT ISSUES

• Consumer economics: Classical approaches to consumer economics maintains that, given sufficient information, consumers will make rational choices with respect to the goods and services that they acquire on the marketplace. In recent years, increased attention has been paid to behavioural economics, which examines how cognitive and emotional biases can affect the choices that consumers make. The Committee organised two Roundtables in 2005 and 2006 to review developments in economic research in this area, and is now exploring the implications for public policy. Summary reports of the Roundtables are available on the CCP’s website.

• Consumer education: Taking full advantage of the opportunities available for consumers in increasingly complex markets requires that consumers be knowledgeable in diverse areas. This project is examining the role that governments and other stakeholders are taking in providing education, with a view towards identifying effective policies and programmes. A final report and best practices are expected by the end of 2008.

• Interface between consumer and competition policies: In February 2008, the CCP co-operated with the OECD’s Competition Committee in organising a Global Forum which focused on the interface between competition and consumer policies. Different institutional frameworks for addressing competition and consumer issues were examined, as were complex case studies involving the effects of deregulation on consumers.

• Industry-led regulation: In some instances, industries have launched initiatives to protect and empower consumers. This project is reviewing case studies, with a view towards identifying the terms and conditions under which self-regulation is likely to be beneficial and successful. The project is expected to be completed in 2008.

EVENTS

• OECD Ministerial on the Future of the Internet Economy, 17-18 June 2008, Seoul, Korea: The CCP actively participated in this event organised by the OECD’s Committee for Information, Computer, Communications Policy, through its work on mobile commerce, identity theft and communication services. 

• OECD Consumer Product Safety Roundtable, October 2008, Paris: The CCP is organising a Roundtable to examine consumer product safety issues. The adequacy of policy frameworks for addressing consumer product safety issues will be reviewed, as will the effectiveness of enforcement and the need for strengthening cross-border co-operation.

• OECD Joint Conference on Consumer Education, October 2008, Paris: The CCP is organising a conference on consumer education with the UNEP, UNESCO, MTF (UN Marrakech Task Force) to discuss and identify ways to strengthen co-operation between stakeholders and to make consumer education more effective and efficient. The conference aims to explore best practices for consumer education.

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION
Consumer Policy Secretariat OECD - DSTI- ICCP
2, rue André-Pascal
75775 Paris Cedex 16
FRANCE
Tel: +33 (0)1 4524 9268
Fax: +33 (0)1 4430 6259
Email: consumer.policy@oecd.org

 

 

 

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