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Mind how you pay for your online purchases

The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) advises consumers to make a conscious decision about how they pay for their online purchases. Depending on their payment method, consumers might be able to avoid losing their money if their purchases are not delivered or if they encounter other such problems. That is why ACM has launched a consumer awareness campaign, called ‘Mind how you pay, or pay the price later’ (in Dutch: ‘Reken af met verrassingen, kies bewust hoe je betaalt’) on the website of Dutch consumer information portal ConsuWijzer (www.consuwijzer.nl).

Consumers can pay in different ways, for example, in advance or afterwards, insured or uninsured. Choosing which options may depend on the total purchase amount and on the level of confidence in the online shop. Anita Vegter, Member of the Board of ACM, adds: “Online shopping among Dutch consumers is increasing. They appreciate the ease and comfort of it. It is therefore important that consumers make a conscious decision about their method of payment when making online purchases, so that online shopping remains easy and comfortable.”

Mind how you pay

When spending a large amount online or when dealing with an unfamiliar online store, it is important that consumers make a conscious decision about their method of payment. For example, if they choose to pay afterwards or insured, they will not lose their money if something goes wrong. Also, with some payment methods where consumers pay in advance, they are able to get their money back if the online store fails to deliver the purchased products.

The Online shopscan on ConsuWijzer is a tool to assess whether or not online shops are trustworthy.

ACM’s oversight of online stores

ACM takes enforcement actions against online stores that do not deliver. ACM receives indications through ConsuWijzer, and works together with Dutch police, where necessary. The police are able to take action against online stores in cases of fraud. ACM is able to take action against online stores that, for other reasons, did not deliver on time or failed to deliver at all.

Based on the indications that ACM received last year, it has dealt with online stores that did not deliver and about which ACM had received many complaints. These actions have had the following results:

  • ACM issued a public warning against an online store that failed to deliver its customers’ purchases;
  • Several online stores ceased operations;
  • Other online stores adjusted their practices and the information on their websites, which has led to fewer complaints about them.

With these actions, ACM has prevented further harm to consumers. Online stores that do not deliver on time or fail to deliver at all will continue to be closely watched by ACM.