QuickLinks - Consumer protection
Issue no. 163 - 9 July 2000
Issue no. 162 - 2 July 2000
Issue no. 161 - 25 June 2000
- UK - OFTEL seeks greater consumer involvement in regulation
Proposals to encourage greater involvement by consumer groups and the telecoms industry to protect consumers' interests are set out in the consultation document 'Encouraging self- and co-regulation in telecoms to benefit consumers'.
- USA - FTC Nixes Telemarketers Offering Y2K Credit Card Insurance
The Federal Trade Commission has shut down a pair of telemarketing companies accused of fraudulently peddling insurance that would guard against possible loss of credit card data caused by the Y2K bug.
- USA - MS Prevails In Consumer Lawsuit
Microsoft gets a boost in the midst of its antitrust tribulations. A Nevada judge throws out a class-action consumer lawsuit, giving the software company ammunition in a slew of similar suits.
Issue no. 160 - 17 June 2000
Issue no. 159 - 11 June 2000
- Groups Embrace E-commerce Dispute-resolution Plan
Industry and consumer groups embraced an industry-led proposal to offer consumers an online method of resolving e-commerce disputes, calling the proposed network the best way to build consumer trust in shopping online. The proposal, issued by seven high tech industry leaders - including America Online, Microsoft , AT&T and IBM - would establish a worldwide network of clearinghouses for resolving disputes over online purchases. see also Online giants urge e-commerce standards (Reuters) and Full text of the "E-Commerce Group" Guidelines
- MCI Agrees to Pay $3.5 Million in FCC Slamming Case
Long distance giant MCI-WorldCom agreed to pay $3.5 million and promised to change its errant business practices in an agreement to end a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) investigation of the company for "slamming."
- The Distance Selling Regulations - A Practical Overview
The Consumer Protection (Contracts Concluded by Means of Distance Communication) Regulations 2000 are expected to come into force on 4th June 2000. This article gives a practical overview of the draft Regulations.
- UK lags with net shopping protection law
The UK government yesterday missed the European Commission's deadline to introduce revised laws to protect online shoppers, because it said it needed more time to consider the implications of the Distance Selling Directive.
- Web prescriptions alert
A patient with a heart condition was given the anti-impotence drug Viagra after an internet consultation - even though it could have been fatal. The case was uncovered by Health Which? magazine which conducted research into health websites offering online consultations and medicines.
- UK - ASA probes NTL ad claims
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is investigating NTL amid allegations that it has misled consumers over its free Net access offer.
- USA - F.B.I. Opens Investigation of EBay Bids
(New York Times)
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has opened an inquiry into whether several eBay users committed fraud by bidding up the prices of one another's online auction offerings.
Issue no. 158 - 4 June 2000
- EU - E-shoppers get right to change their minds
The Distance Selling Directive, which gives consumers the right to cancel orders made over the internet comes into force this week. Shoppers buying goods or services online will be given an automatic right to cancel an order and claim a refund of any money paid - even after goods are dispatched. The directive applies to all contracts not conducted face-to-face.
Issue no. 156 - 20 May 2000
- AOL Settles SEC Charges, Pays $3.5 Million Fine
America Online has settled charges that it improperly accounted for certain advertising costs and agreed to pay a $3.5 million civil penalty. The company reported profits instead of the losses it would have reported had advertising costs associated with acquiring new customers been accounted for as expenses. see also SEC Sues America Online For Financial Reporting Violations (Press Release).
- Germany - Verbaucherschutz bei Internet-Geschäften vorerst gestoppt
Der Bundesrat hat einen Gesetzentwurf zur Verbesserung des Verbraucherschutzes bei Bestellungen im Internet überraschend gestoppt. Die Länderkammer stimmte einem Antrag Hessens zu, den bereits vom Bundestag beschlossenen Gesetzentwurf an den Vermittlungsausschuss von Bundestag und Bundesrat zu überweisen. Die Länderkammer dringt darauf, für den Buchhandel eine Ausnahme von der vorgesehenen Regelung zu schaffen, dass Verbraucher Warensendungen innerhalb von 14 Tagen auf Kosten des Anbieters zurückschicken können. Für den Buchhandel soll die Regelung nach dem Willen der Länder nur bei einer entsprechenden vertraglichen Vereinbarung mit dem Käufer gelten.
Issue no. 155 - 14 May 2000
Issue no. 154 - 7 May 2000
Issue no. 152 - 15 April 2000
Issue no. 150 - 2 April 2000
Issue no. 149 - 26 March 2000
Issue no. 148 - 18 March 2000
- Regulators concerned over high-tech mania
Financial regulators joined a mounting chorus of public warnings about the dangers of investing in high-technology stocks. The latest warnings reflect rising international concern about the threat to financial stability of the rush into internet shares, particularly by small investors trading on "margin accounts" with borrowed money. see also Flat launch for shares in World Online (FT).
- Germany - Rechtsstreit um Zuteilung von T-Online-Aktien
Die Anfang März von T-Online bekannt gegebene Bevorzugung von Teilnehmern einer Befragung im Internet bei der Zuteilung von T-Online-Aktien ist nun vom Landgericht Hamburg per einstweiliger Verfügung untersagt worden.
- USA - Click here ... and lose your rights
The Uniform Computer Information Transaction Act, or UCITA, a controversial 350-page legislative proposal aimed at strengthening licenses on software and digital information, is being presented to the states. But opponents - which include the Federal Trade Commission, Consumers Union and an alliance of 20 companies - warn UCITA will instead undermine consumers' rights and lead to shoddy software development.
Issue no. 147 - 11 March 2000
- EU - Towards a new approach to e-Consumers
David Byrne European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection "Making the virtual virtuous - towards a new approach to e-Consumers" European Consumer Centre Dublin, 3 March 2000
Issue no. 146 - 4 March 2000
- USA - Online Fraud Complaints on the Rise
Internet fraud cost consumers $3.2 million last year, up 38 percent from the year before, according to a study by a nonprofit consumer organization. The National Consumer's League in Washington said the results show a need for better education in online shopping.
Issue no. 145 - 26 February 2000
- Move to resolve net disputes
The European Commission is looking at setting up a European Union-wide system for resolving consumers' disputes about goods bought over the internet as part of a wider initiative to encourage electronic commerce. The system would involve setting up a series of clearing houses in EU countries to direct complaints and consumer requests for redress to the relevant national bodies.
- Recommendations On Electronic Commerce
(TACD - Trans Atlantic Consumer Dialogue)
Third TACD Meeting, 10-12 February 2000, Washington DC
- Support for online kitemark scheme gathers momentum
Greece has become the eighth European country to back the Consumer Association's Which? Web Trader scheme, as the online kitemark project continues its bid to become a global standard. The accreditation initiative, which last week announced support from Belgium, France, Holland, Italy, Portugal, Spain and the UK, hopes more consumer associations worldwide will follow its model. Last week the initiative received E1.3m (£800,000) from the European Union to support its expansion.
- USA - AOL's Legal Headaches Continue
Washington State residents have joined the growing list of litigants filing class action lawsuits against America Online for releasing its 5.0 software without warning that the installation would change a computer's dial-up networking properties and TCP/IP settings.
Issue no. 144 - 19 February 2000
- UK - Ensuring telephone bills are accurate
The document 'Ensuring Telephone Bills Are Accurate - A Statement on the Review of The OFTEL Meter Approvals Scheme for Public Telecommunications Operators' is available from OFTEL's website.
- USA - FTC tackles online auction fraud
Online auctions are one of the fastest growing areas of the Internet for both consumers and the con artists who prey on them. Federal and state law enforcement agencies announced a crackdown against Web scammers who offer goods they don't have or accept payments and don't deliver.
Issue no. 143 - 12 February 2000
- Cybersex Addiction Checklist
If you have one to three of these symptoms, you may need to discuss your online activities with a friend or family member. Consider counseling with someone trained in the treatment of addictive disorders and, perhaps, a support program if you have four or more symptoms.
- USA - Net Auction Fraud Task Force
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will announce the creation of a three tiered federal-state, public-private initiative to crack down on fraudulent Internet auction sites.
Issue no. 138 - 9 January 2000
- Consumer complaints made to OFTEL
For the first time, OFTEL is publishing details on the complaints made by the public to OFTEL about individual telecoms companies.
- Online share-trading case sparks controversy
The case against Tokyo Joe, the New York-based online stock picker who was sued by US regulators, has triggered a legal controversy surrounding one of the murkier areas of internet law. it may help set clear parameters for potentially fraudulent acts by amateur, unlicensed stock advisers on the internet. If taken to the courts, the case may also come down to a clash between First Amendment protections of speech and securities regulations in the new world of online investing and advisement.
- TMA chief slams Oftel over Web inaccuracies
Former TMA chairman, Martyn Hart, has criticised UK telecoms regulator, Oftel, for giving out inaccurate information on its price comparison Web site. Hart concluded that corporates are better off using the more reliable and detailed Web site set up by the EU which can also be tailored specifically for business use.
- Web Auction Co. Settles Complaint
ReverseAuction.com, an online auction company, agreed to settle charges by the Federal Trade Commission that it sent deceptive e-mail to customers of its Internet auction rival, eBay. see also Online Auction Site Settles FTC Privacy Charges (FTC Press release).
Issue no. 136 - 12 December 1999
Issue no. 135 - 5 December 1999
- Complaint Website Bares It All
A new Internet start-up, called eComplaints, plans to give angry, frustrated, or just unsatisfied, consumers a new outlet for their complaints, along with the hope that these complaints will be satisfactorily resolved.
Links to news items about legal and regulatory aspects of Internet and the information society, particularly those relating to information content, and market and technology.
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