Government backs ‘Web buying is safe’ campaign

A new Government-backed consumer information campaign launches this week, pressing home the message that the Internet is a safe place to shop.

The campaign is being run by IMRG (Interactive Media in Retail Group), which bills itself as “the industry body for global e-retail”.

Relying mainly on PR, with some online support, the campaign will stress that Internet shopping is safe for consumers who “use their common sense” and follow “simple” industry guidelines, shaped by consumer-friendly legislation.

The advantages of online over high-street shopping will also be highlighted. These include the potential to save time and money, greater choice, the convenience of shopping when you like and having goods delivered, and a “powerful” ability to find and compare information, products and prices.

The campaign will claim Internet shopping is now “at least as safe” as shopping in person or by phone.

E-commerce minister Douglas Alexander has given his backing to IMRG, saying: “This campaign shows what retailers can do to get the safe shopping message out to the public. Industry initiatives like this can enhance consumer confidence in e-commerce and are very much to be welcomed”.

The Government’s “e-envoy”, Andrew Pinder, adds: “Educating consumers about how they can shop online with confidence and safety is a vital part of the Government’s objective of making the UK the best place in the world for e-commerce. Government, industry and consumers must all play a part in this process, and therefore we are happy to support IMRG’s campaign”.

Support for the initiative comes from a large number of high street and dot-com retailers, including the Automobile Association, Allders, Arcadia Group, Argos, Autobytel.co.UK, B&Q, Ebookers.com, Egg, eKingfisher, Freemans, Go-fly.com and ShopSmart.com.

Formed in 1990, the IMRG says its members in 20 countries are all committed to using methods that are honest, decent, legal, truthful and fair. They have also undertaken not to bring the industry into disrepute.

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