Shopping from a List: International Studies of Consumer Online Experiences



In response to the growth of online shopping, consumer groups from around the world participated in two mystery shopping exercises. These exercises, conducted during the Christmas holiday seasons of 1998 and 2000, involved buying a variety of products from web sites located both domestically and abroad. A number of serious problems were identified within the research, especially lack of disclosure of key consumer information and failures in delivering goods and refunding consumers when goods were returned. The research has been used by consumer organizations to enhance consumer education and to lobby governmental and self-regulatory bodies for greater consumer protection in the online environment.