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Investment needed to protect e-shoppers

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Trading Standards officers - the workhorses of consumer rights in the UK - have called for a massive investment in technology and training to deal with the rise in e-commerce.

A new report Surfing the Big Wave launched on Wednesday at the annual conference of the Trading Standards Institute in Cardiff said the investment was necessary to boost consumer confidence and reassure them that the same protection they receive in the high street is available online too.

Currently, many trading standards offices are ill equipped to access the Net. Many officials also lack the skills to navigate the Web and prepare a legal case using information from the Net.

If the recommendations are adopted it's hoped that consumers will be more confident about buying online and reporting Web-based scams.

Among other proposals it's been suggested Trading Standards creates a national Internet enforcement team.

The report is a response to concerns that Trading Standards has fallen slightly behind the times and become unable to protect consumers in the wired world. ®

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