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Electronic Commerce and the New Zealand Consumer

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Citation Edit

New Zealand Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Electronic Commerce and the New Zealand Consumer (Mar. 2000) (full-text).

Overview Edit

This paper proposes the adoption of a "Model Code for Consumer Protection in Electronic Commerce" as a possible means of addressing how well Internet shopping sites protect their customer's interests. If this code is adopted and followed by New Zealand businesses they will be able to say that they are addressing consumers' interests. It will also be a concrete example of how consumers, businesses and Government can work together to ensure consumers' interests are met.

The code could be adhered to by businesses independently, or used to provide a basis for self-regulatory mechanisms that may be put in place. Typically the latter schemes involve members agreeing to operate to certain standards and processes that meet consumers' interests, and displaying "seals" that signify this. The operators of the schemes then ensure that businesses do in fact adhere to the standards through audit and/or disciplinary processes.

Whether a business operates independently in accordance with such a code, or chooses to be part of a self-regulatory mechanism based on the code, it is important that effective steps are taken to ensure that consumers' interests are met in either case, to avoid need for action by the Government.

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