Shoppers offered more protection from charges

online shopping protection

online shopping protectionCustomers are to be given extra protection when making purchases to ensure they are not being ripped off by additional charges and hidden costs.

New consumer rights measures outlined by the Government aim to make sure we have all the information we need before spending our money.

Costs and contract details are to be clearly set out, and customer service helplines will not be able to charge above the basic rate for calls.

End to bad business practices

The plans, which are part of the European Consumer Rights Directive, will also see consumers have to "opt in" to agree to make any additional payments on top of the price paid for the product itself.

Consequently, companies will not be allowed to use pre-ticked boxes on booking forms. This means we will no longer be roped into paying more than the price listed on the product.

For example, when it comes to flights, no optional service extras will be added later in the booking process.

In addition, fees charged for a particular method of payment are also set to be cut, signalling an end to credit card surcharges.

"Many people will have been ripped off at some point by hidden online charges while booking a holiday, premium rate helplines when returning a purchase or disproportionate and often unexpected charges for paying with credit or debit cards," said Consumer Affairs Minister Norman Lamb.

"The Consumer Rights Directive will put an end to certain bad business practices and help consumers make well-informed decisions when buying products or services.

"It will also boost business confidence, setting out clearer rules and responsibilities and cutting red tape by reducing compliance costs."

Online shopping

The proposals also cover the information to be given to a consumer before they buy products on the internet, and the cancellation rights they have after purchase.

Online shopping can be a minefield for hidden costs, so be sure you read through all the details before purchasing anything.

If you order from non-EU websites then you may also be required to pay VAT and even customs duty for packages valued over a certain price.

Plans also include clarification on deadlines for deliveries of products and who is responsible if there is a problem.