It has been revealed several online businesses have clarified terms and conditions that could mislead consumers about their rights following action by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

Last September, the ACCC joined international consumer protection agencies in an internet sweep focussing on the fine print in online shopping. The sweep was organised by the International Consumer Protection Enforcement Network (ICPEN).

The ACCC reviewed 450 websites for terms and conditions that were ambiguous and identified a small group that were mostly likely to confuse shoppers, particularly about their rights under the consumer guarantees provisions of the Australian Consumer Law. Following contact by the ACCC, nine businesses made changes to their online terms to provide greater clarity for consumers.
“It is important that consumers are not misled into thinking that their consumer rights do not apply when shopping online. Online retailers need to provide clear and accurate information about their obligations to consumers if there is a problem with the goods or services they supply,” ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said.

“The ACCC will continue to monitor online businesses for compliance with the Australian Consumer Law and may take enforcement action where businesses do not comply with the law.”