SEOUL, July 23 (Korea Bizwire) – For consumers who use new types of e-commerce such as cross-border shopping and social commerce, Korea’s fair trade watchdog will implement more safeguards against unfair practices such as exaggerated discount rates.
The Fair Trade Commission announced on July 22 that it would revise the Guidelines for Consumer Protection in Electronic Commerce and ETC in response to various violations that are frequently occurring in e-commerce markets.
Most of all, the revised guidelines will force social commerce companies to provide accurate and dispassionate information about the basis of their discount rates, such as real prices or the time of calculation of the discount rates. The measure aims to prevent exaggerated discount rates from social commerce operators.
In addition, the guidelines will recommend that social commerce companies prepare their own guidelines for stores using social commerce platforms, so as to not discriminate against consumers of social commerce products in favor of those who purchase their products directly.
For price comparison sites, the revised guidelines will force them to compare prices based on universal standards, without any additional conditions such as discounts for certain credit cards.
Meanwhile, the guidelines include dumping return expenses to consumers as a case of an unfair practice that often occurs with overseas direct purchasing agencies. The revised guidelines will come into effect on August 20.
An official at the FTC said, “We revised the guidelines to protect consumers by adding new types of e-commerce and cases of unfair practices.”
Korea’s social commerce market rose to 5.5 trillion won, up from 50 billion won in 2010. With an increase in the number of mobile shopping users, the figure is expected to hit 6 trillion won this year, analysts said.
By John Choi (firstname.lastname@example.org)