S. Korea to Root Out 'Dark Pattern' Sales Tactics Online | Be Korea-savvy

S. Korea to Root Out ‘Dark Pattern’ Sales Tactics Online

(image: Korea Bizwire)

(image: Korea Bizwire)

SEOUL, April 21 (Korea Bizwire)South Korea’s antitrust regulator said Friday it plans to revamp policies to root out “dark pattern” sales tactics online that have not been properly monitored in the past.

The term refers to practices that trick customers into making payments or joining certain services without being adequately informed of their actions.

Examples include having consumers subscribe to monthly services without informing them or making cancellations difficult.

Other types of dark pattern tactics are forcing consumers to install unnecessary software or attracting them to websites with bargains that are not actually for sale.

Around 97 percent of the country’s mobile commerce apps are embedded with at least one type of dark pattern tactics, a separate survey by the Korea Consumer Agency showed earlier.

“The Fair Trade Commission has been developing measures since last year to curb unfair marketing tactics that harm consumers without impeding on normal marketing activities,” the regulator said in a statement.

The FTC pointed out that the types of such unfair business practices have become diverse, and it has become complicated to draw a clear line on defining what constitutes the dark pattern tactics.

To address such issues, the FTC said it will push to revise the current commerce laws to reflect the current trend of dark pattern tactics, as existing regulations fail to provide legal grounds for a correction order.

The FTC will also issue guidelines for consumers and businesses to provide clear instructions on what defines dark pattern tactics.

“As companies may engage in such practices as they are not aware of them, we plan to share the guidelines with businesses, and induce them to voluntarily correct such tactics,” the FTC said.

“Should they fail to fix such actions despite the efforts, we will proactively apply the law to correct them.”


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