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The BBC's Rory Cellan-Jones
"There is great concern about fraud"
 real 56k

Elizabeth France, data protection registrar
"Our role is to look to see if there have been any breaches of the law"
 real 28k

MD Letsbuyit.com, Peter Jaco
"I think consumer confidence needs to be increased"
 real 56k

Wednesday, 2 August, 2000, 00:39 GMT 01:39 UK
Security fears hit e-commerce
Credit-card swipe - security fears hinder e-commerce
Shoppers fear giving their credit-card details online
The development of shopping online is being seriously hindered by consumers' lack of confidence in internet security, according to research by the National Consumer Council in the UK.

The NCC said shoppers were reluctant to release credit-card and personal details online and were also wary about the lack of opportunity to check goods before buying.


Unless the total online shopping environment is made more secure, some consumers will never have the confidence to explore the opportunities

Anna Bradley
NCC director
It said these fears were compounded by widespread ignorance of legal rights and redress for consumers when things go wrong.

NCC director Anna Bradley said: "It is especially worrying that internet users are more, not less, likely to harbour doubts about shopping online.

"For instance, almost four out of 10 adults see the need to release credit-card details as a major disadvantage of internet shopping.

"Among internet users, more than half feel the same way.

Inspecting goods

"This heightened awareness is evident across the board, from delivery problems and not being able to touch goods, to releasing personal information.


This report will help us to focus on shoppers' specific worries and we shall be studying it carefully

Patricia Hewitt
e-commerce minister
"Unless the total online shopping environment is made more secure, some consumers will never have the confidence to explore the opportunities."

In an attempt to overcome these concerns, the NCC is calling for secure payment mechanisms, better protection for credit-card transactions, higher standards of customer service and a government-backed publicity campaign to promote knowledge and awareness of consumer rights.

Anna Bradley said: "Our research shows that consumers try to minimise the risks by shopping from online channels run by established, well-known brands and retailers.

"Around 28% of internet users say they would look for a recognised brand name, while 22% would feel safer shopping on the site of a High Street retailer."

Patricia Hewitt, e-commerce minister, said: "This report will help us to focus on shoppers' specific worries and we shall be studying it carefully."

The poll was conducted by interviewing 2,000 adults across the UK.

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See also:

01 Aug 00 | Business
Barclays admits new security breach
03 Jul 00 | Archive
Cyber Attack! July 3 2000
30 Nov 99 | Business
Online share dealing - is it safe?
01 Aug 00 | Business
Safety fears for web banking
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