Latest Documents

  • 14-April-2023


    Workshop on Applying Behavioural Insights to Consumer and Competition Policy

    14 April 2023 - This workshop will explore how businesses may use behavioural insights to exploit consumer biases and manipulate consumer decision-making, and the possible consumer and competition policy responses addressing such practices in a holistic manner.

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  • 14-November-2022


    Put product safety first: OECD online product safety sweep

    Building on the results from an online sweep in 2021, an OECD global awareness campaign from mid-November to mid-December 2022 aims to alert online platforms, online sellers and consumers about the safety risks and issues associated with products sold online.

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  • 3-November-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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  • 26-October-2022


    Dark commercial patterns

    There is mounting concern that dark commercial patterns may cause substantial consumer detriment. These practices are commonly found in online user interfaces and steer, deceive, coerce, or manipulate consumers into making choices that often are not in their best interests. This report proposes a working definition of dark commercial patterns, sets out evidence of their prevalence, effectiveness and harms, and identifies possible policy and enforcement responses to assist consumer policy makers and authorities in addressing them. It also documents possible approaches that consumers and businesses may take to mitigate dark commercial patterns.
  • 25-October-2022


    Enhancing online disclosure effectiveness

    Online disclosures can play a key role in informing consumer decisions. However, cognitive limitations such as information overload, as well as technical ones such as small screen sizes on mobile devices, may limit their effectiveness. Additionally, businesses may sometimes focus on technical compliance with disclosure requirements rather than maximising their effectiveness in informing consumer decisions. This report supports consumer authorities in enhancing disclosure effectiveness by providing i) a systematic overview of key disclosure characteristics; ii) guidance on the effective design of disclosures based on a review of the empirical literature; iii) an overview of overarching challenges to disclosure effectiveness and iv) an overview of possible ways to address them, including possible policy alternatives when disclosures may not be sufficient on their own.
  • 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.
  • 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.
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