Combating unfair commercial practices and measures to protect consumers in the online environment were some of the topics discussed during the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Digital Economy Policy Committee held on 15 December 2022 in the Kingdom of Spain. On behalf of the Ministry of Economy and Industry, the meeting was attended by Emil Alexiev, Director of the Consumer Policy Directorate and Stoil Alipiev, Chairperson of the Commission for Consumer Protection.
The forum also discussed the dangers posed by the use of unfair commercial practices online and their impact on the level of consumer vulnerability. Participants discussed where further research is needed to better plan measures to protect and empower consumers in the digital environment.
The use of algorithms and artificial intelligence by traders, fake reviews by traders on online platforms, collection and use of consumers’ personal data, etc., were cited as some of the main issues.
Participants in the forum agreed that rapid technological progress and its impact on consumers requires further action to address the challenges. It was recommended that governments and consumer protection authorities take action to combat the use of consumer data, curb harmful commercial surveillance, ban fraudulent online reviews, and prohibit the use of “dark patterns”.