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SHOPS Survey on Home Shopping Payment Security

Survey of public attitudes on the security of shopping from home conducted for SHOPS published 4 November 2010

Date Published: 04 Nov 2010

Categories: Business | Consumer | Public and communities | Retail & Consumer | Technology & Telecoms | UK


Survey by National Newspaper SHOPS reveals the public’s concern about payment when shopping from home

Three quarters of Britons (74%) feel that that the home shopping industry needs to be more tightly regulated and are concerned about fraud, a national survey conducted by ComRes on behalf of SHOPS, has revealed.  Nine out of ten (89%) believe home shopping companies (including shopping on the internet, TV Shopping channels and responding to advertisements and catalogues) should be independently checked before they place advertisements that ask for money in advance.
SHOPS, a body that protects readers on behalf of all the UK’s national newspapers including The Sun, The Daily Mail, The Sunday Times, The Daily Mirror, The Daily Telegraph and The Express, (for full list of member newspapers see Notes to Editors) commissioned the survey to gauge public opinion about regulation in the home shopping industry of which they are a key player. 
The survey found that 65% of people in the UK will use some form of home shopping - including shopping on the internet and TV shopping channels - in the key purchasing period leading up to Christmas - but nearly one in four (23%) do not think sending money in advance of receiving goods is secure.
The survey also showed that there is great confusion among the public about existing regulations concerning home shopping and what protection they afford.
SHOPS’ Chief Executive Ron Davis says the unique protection provided by their Scheme, which vets advertisers who ask for payment in advance before they appear in National Newspapers and also provides compensation to consumers should they fail, is a model which could be adopted by other home shopping media.
Ron Davis comments: ““Every National Newspaper in the UK is a member of SHOPS which means readers can buy from advertisements which require payment in advance of receiving goods with our assurance.  These guarantees are not available to consumers who shop via other media such as online or through TV Shopping Channels.”
Ron cites the recent example of Global Sourcing Technologies Limited which advertised flat screen LCD and plasma TVs in national newspapers in the period leading up to Christmas in 2008.  The company went bust, leaving hundreds of consumers out of pocket. SHOPS stepped in and paid full compensation to any readers who were affected, at a cost of £55,000.
“This a good example of what can happen to consumers.  Although Global Sourcing Technologies Limited passed the SHOPS’ vetting process and were cleared to advertise in national newspapers, after a short period their business failed.  We were able to help immediately when readers complained that their TVs had not been delivered.”
Ron continues: “We have cash reserves to compensate consumers in the rare event that an advertiser in National Newspapers fails to deliver.  It is a level of protection you can’t get on the internet or other media”.
SHOPS (Safe Home Ordering Protection Scheme) is a self regulatory body supported by all National Newspapers in the UK. Launched in 1975, the Scheme has offered protection to consumers for more than three decades and £5.2 million has been paid out to consumers in compensation over this period.
Ron comments: “Self regulatory bodies are the answer.  National Newspaper SHOPS step in to resolve issues and help consumers by providing full compensation not available through statutory regulation.  And it works – we know that consumers are more likely to respond to advertisements in the national press if they know an advertiser is secure.  Readers should always look for the SHOPS sign in advertisements where they are asked to send payment in advance because it shows we are there to protect their purchases.”
SHOPS is often compared to the role of ABTA within the travel industry.  Consumer protection is both needed and desired in the home shopping sector and the National Newspaper industry uniquely meets that need.  Consumers will be able to determine those advertisers in the Scheme through a clearly printed SHOPS sign on each advertisement or catalogue.

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