Australian Internet business sites have failed in the development of privacy policies, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said today.
In a consumer test of more than 3,000 sites ACCC chairman Professor Allan Fels said Australian companies wanting to do business on the Internet need to upgrade privacy policies so consumers feel safe.
Justifiably Fels said consumers are wary of leaping into cyberspace with their credit cards because of fears such details will be disclosed or misused by other parties.
The sweep examined disclosure of physical addresses, e-mail or telephone contact, itemised costs and specification of currency quoted, restrictions on purchase (such as age or geographic limits), refund and warranty policies and privacy.
Fels said this must be rectified because "cyber-stores do not work in a laissez-faire environment and cannot take consumers rights away".
He said consumers will shy away from using sites they do not trust and warned of dubious claims that have proliferated on the Internet such as 'miracle' cures and other health issues.