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These Guidelines are designed to help ensure that consumers are no less protected when shopping online than they are when they buy from their local store or order from a catalogue. By setting out the core characteristics of effective consumer protection for online business-to-consumer transactions, the guidelines are intended to help eliminate some of the uncertainties that both consumers and businesses encounter when buying and selling online.
The guidelines reflect existing legal protection available to consumers in more traditional forms of commerce; encourage private sector initiatives that include participation by consumer representatives; and emphasize the need for co-operation among governments, businesses and consumers. Their aim is to encourage: fair business, advertising and marketing practices; clear information about an online business's identity, the goods or services it offers and the terms and conditions of any transaction; a transparent process for the confirmation of transactions; secure payment mechanisms; fair, timely and affordable dispute resolution and redress; privacy protection; and consumer and business education.