12/16/2009 12:33:00 PM
Mobile shopping should be safer, watchdog says
Mobile shopping must become safer and easier to use to protect consumers, according to the watchdog, Consumer Focus.
A survey carried out across 11 countries and 10 other consumer organisations concluded that greater consumer protection, better business practices and technical advances need to be introduced.
One researcher in each of the 11 countries bought a combined total of 112 goods and services via mobile phones between July and September 2009 to complete the survey.
Results showed that many premium rate purchases resulted in unwanted subscriptions through inaccurate or misleading descriptions. Nearly half of vendors did not provide full cost details. Researchers also found that nearly all purchases had no age restrictions.
Researchers found that the choice of digital content, consisting of mainly premium rate services, was further restricted by a lack of interoperability between software and handsets.
Information on costs, terms and conditions, customer services and subscriptions was often either not provided or was unclear.
Marzena Kisielowska-Lipman, of Consumer Focus, said: ‘Mobile commerce has the potential to transform how we shop, but this research shows huge problems that need to be addressed to make mobile shopping fit for consumers’ needs.
‘It is particularly shocking that so many premium rate purchases leave customers facing unexpected costs or paying for unwanted goods and services.
‘Improved safeguards, information and technologies are needed to protect consumers and make mobile shopping easier.’