Latest Documents

  • 22-July-2022


    The role of online marketplaces in protecting and empowering consumers - Country and business survey findings

    Online marketplaces matching third-party sellers with consumers are now key e-commerce channels globally. Despite their popularity and the benefits they bring to consumers, they do present a number of risks, for example when their third-party sellers engage in misleading marketing and fraud, or supply unsafe products. This report summarises results from a 2021 OECD survey of 28 countries and 15 platform businesses examining the role of online marketplaces in enhancing consumer protection. The report highlights a range of encouraging initiatives by many participating countries and online marketplaces to better protect consumers, often taken in co-operation with one another, but also identifies several key areas where more action is needed.
  • 13-July-2022


    Measuring financial consumer detriment in e-commerce

    Problems in e-commerce can lead to significant consumer harm (detriment), for example, when consumers have to pay more for a product than they reasonably expected (e.g. due to hidden costs); suffer from unfair contract terms; or receive products that do not conform to their reasonable expectations regarding quality or performance. In 2021, the OECD’s Committee on Consumer Policy implemented an online consumer survey in 13 countries to assess the magnitude of financial consumer harm arising from consumers’ most serious e-commerce problems. This paper summarises the survey results, highlighting, for example, that 50% of online consumers faced at least one problem in e-commerce in the year preceding the survey rollout and that the resulting harm is significant, reaching (after redress) up to 3.1% of the total e-commerce market size in some countries. The paper aims to enhance the evidence base for consumer policy and to help policy makers prioritise enforcement activities.
  • 7-July-2022


    Policy guidance on consumer product safety pledges

    In recent years, a number of consumer product safety authorities have established product safety pledges with online marketplaces as a new way to better protect consumers from the risk of purchasing unsafe products that may be available on those platforms. Product safety pledges involve online marketplaces committing to actions to better protect consumers that go beyond their existing legal obligations (e.g. removing unsafe product listings within a specified timeframe upon notification). This policy guidance builds on a 2021 Communiqué from the OECD Working Party on Consumer Product Safety calling for the development of further such pledges globally and outlining key commitments for greater consistency. It provides practical examples on how each of the Communiqué’s four key commitments can be implemented and highlights strategies to ensure that pledges are successful in both the short and long term.
  • 3-May-2022


    Consumer Product Safety

    OECD work on consumer product safety is aimed at strengthening information sharing on safety issues across borders.

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  • 8-February-2022


    Nudging consumers toward greener choices

    This virtual event explored how governments, businesses and other stakeholders are developing policy initiatives to nudge consumers towards greener choices and also examined what further empirical work is needed to deepen global understanding of consumer attitudes and behaviours as well as areas where further policy intervention may be needed.

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  • 17-June-2021


    Implementation toolkit on legislative actions for consumer protection enforcement co-operation

    Countries have made significant efforts in recent years to develop domestic, regional and international frameworks for consumer protection enforcement co-operation across borders. However, recent work by the OECD Committee on Consumer Policy has shown that challenges remain in many countries, in particular a lack of legal authority to fully engage in enforcement co-operation. This toolkit acts a practical resource for consumer protection enforcement agencies that do not currently have the domestic legal authority needed for enforcement co-operation to make the case for obtaining relevant legislative tools. It also provides guidance to ensure related legislative reforms are fit for purpose. The toolkit sets out a range of legislative actions countries may take to improve cross-border enforcement co-operation, covering investigatory powers, enforcement outcomes and co-operation practices. Its annex addresses operational and legal issues, and provides concrete examples of cases and legislation from a broad range of both OECD countries and partner economies.
  • 16-June-2021

    English, PDF, 4,829kb

    Communiqué on product safety pledges

    A number of consumer product safety authorities have established product safety pledges with online marketplaces to better protect consumers from the risk of unsafe products. This document aims to encourage the development of further such pledges at domestic and regional levels, and to identify the key commitments for inclusion.

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  • 15-June-2021


    International conference on the consumer marketplace of the future

    This interactive international event on 15-17 June 2021 will celebrate 50 years of consumer policy work at the OECD. Senior decision-makers from the public and private sectors, experts, academics and other stakeholders will discuss the most pressing topics for consumers in the midst of ongoing digital transformation and green transition.

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  • 18-January-2021


    The effects of online disclosure about personalised pricing on consumers - Results from a lab experiment in Ireland and Chile

    Online personalised pricing is a form of price discrimination that involves charging different prices to different consumers, often based on a consumer’s personal data. Policymakers are currently discussing ways to protect consumers from potential adverse effects of personalised pricing. One option involves displaying disclosures on the websites of retailers that use personalised pricing, in order for consumers to make informed purchase decisions. This paper summarizes findings from a laboratory experiment on the effects that online disclosures about personalised pricing have on consumers. Results from the experiment suggest that online disclosures have only limited effects on consumers’ ability to identify and comprehend online personalised pricing, and cannot confirm a significant effect on participants’ purchasing behaviour. Results from a questionnaire distributed to participants reveal that on average personalised pricing is considered an unfair practice that should be prohibited.
  • 17-July-2020


    OECD Recommendation on consumer product safety

    This recommendation outlines the key elements that should be at the core of consumer product safety frameworks at domestic and international levels. It includes a level of flexibility in order to ensure continued relevance and applicability across a variety of contexts, including in relation to product safety issues emerging from e-commerce, new technologies, and the COVID-19 crisis.

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