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7 Jun 2023

NatWest is launching a software-only point-of-sale (softPOS) solution that will enable merchants in the UK to accept in-person contactless payments on Android NFC smartphones.

1 Jun 2023

A new Cycle to Work Scheme that launches this week is claiming to offer partner bike shops the lowest commission fees in the industry at 4%, with an introductory offer of 3% until 31st December...

31 May 2023

A report published by financial institution Claro Money’s wellbeing division on the effects of money worries for retail workers found that 73% of retail workers feel negatively about their...

31 May 2023

ACT partners V12 Finance, who are headline sponsors for this year’s National Cycle Show, have an allocation of free tickets that they would like to share with you!

30 May 2023

ACT Gold Member ICE Trikes is looking for high quality independent bike shops to become new agents or dealers. The company already has dealers and agents in over 32 countries all the way from...

18 May 2023

A lobby group has warned of the “startling rise in the cost of accepting cards” for small businesses after the European chief of Mastercard defended the fees it levies on merchants.

18 May 2023

It has been reported by This Is Money that HMRC now holds 55 billion items of taxpayers' data, including email and bank records, as it cracks down on tax avoidance. The data is held on its...

18 May 2023

Sustrans is working with local businesses to provide bike maintenance stations and pumps at key stops along the National Cycle Network in Scotland, which, it says, will support more people to...

16 May 2023

Cycling UK has opened nominations for its annual 100 Women in Cycling list, which celebrates the inspirational women working in the cycle sector.

16 May 2023

Bike sales in 2022 were lower than 2021 throughout Europe's main markets, Bike Europe has reported, but e-bike sales continue to thrive - although the UK seems to be the exception.

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Competition watchdog warns online retailers on pressure-selling tactics

Posted on in Business News , Cycles News

The UK's competition watchdog has announced a crackdown on online pressure-selling tactics that can push consumers into making hasty decisions they later regret.

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The Competition & Markets Authority has written to online businesses to warn them about its "red lines" on urgency and price reduction claims such as "10 people are watching this now," "Hurry, today only!" and countdown timers for deals.

Such claims can be acceptable if true, but the CMA is warning they will breach the law if they are false or misleading or place unfair pressure on consumers.

The letter reads: "These claims have a legitimate place when they alert consumers to genuine special offers or provide helpful information about current selling conditions.

"However, we have become concerned about claims that may mislead or put unfair pressure on consumers in the UK.

"Such claims may be illegal under consumer protection regulations, harm consumers by distorting their behaviour and put fair-dealing businesses at a disadvantage."

The CMA is inviting consumers to report online rip-offs through a new digital reporting form.

The Online Rip-Off Tip-Off campaign, fronted by Martin Lewis Money Show co-presenter Angellica Bell, aims to crack down on practices that could break the law and encourages shoppers to be aware of online scammers.

The campaign aims to enable consumers to spot and avoid misleading online sales tactics and to report businesses that engage in them.

The tactics include pressure selling, hidden charges, subscription traps and fake reviews, which are all designed to "mislead and push people to part with their cash online".

A survey of 3,700 UK adults for the CMA found that 67% say cost-of-living pressures have made them more desperate to find the best deals, while 71% believe they are "saving money" by purchasing deals that are on offer – some of which may not be genuine.

It also revealed 24% of consumers have fallen victim to "sneaky" online sales tactics, while 23% did not realise that tactics such as "15 mins left of sale" or "buy now" can sometimes be false or misleading.

Some 68% thought these types of misleading tactics should be banned.

Bell said: "Some online businesses are using sneaky sales tactics to make us part with our money when household budgets are already stretched.

"We all feel the pressure of securing bargains, making us more susceptible to being ripped off. It's frustrating when this happens, and it's time we call out these online retailers and report them to the CMA."

CMA Senior Director for Consumer Protection George Lusty, said: "Now more than ever, every penny counts, and the CMA is concerned that some businesses are using underhand tactics designed to part shoppers from their cash.

"This poll is just the tip of the iceberg as we believe the true number of victims of these rip-offs is much higher as they are often extremely difficult to spot.

"That's why businesses using urgency and price reduction claims need to consult the CMA's new advice. It outlines what businesses need to do when designing their online shopping experiences to be sure they comply with the law."

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