ACCC Slams Scams Online

SYDNEY — The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has launched a new
online presence to help manage illegal sales practices over the Internet, as
it encourages consumers to exercise their offline rights in the digital
world.

The new site, called Slam-A-Cyberscam, is an automated service “with the
capacity to take thousands of complaints at a time about illegal online
selling practices,” said ACCC chairman Professor Allan Fels.

Slam-A-Cyberscam, which Fels said will “take details of complaints including
allegations of illegal conduct,” has been developed to give the ACCC a tool
to better arm it in its quest to identify emerging problems in e-commerce
and deal with them more swiftly. Fels said that information received through
the site “will be reviewed by the ACCC and, where necessary, acted upon”.

The site accepts anonymous information, but so that it has maximum
information to use in its investigations, it is encouraging consumers to
provide all of their details as they defend their online rights. “Businesses
must remember that consumers have the same rights online as they do
offline,” said Fels. “These rights cannot be denied or over-ridden.”

Fels said that the new site was an expansion of the ACCC’s work to educate
and protect consumers and businesses as e-commerce becomes more prevalent.
It follows other efforts the ACCC has already made to help develop operating
protocols for e-commerce, that include four international Internet sweeps to
“detect and remove site which breach consumer protection or fair trading
laws,” said Fels.

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