Interview: 'Fair And Square' campaign

The Feedster

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Jun 26, 2007
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Intrigued with Computeractive’s Fair And Square campaign, TechRadar spoke to Paul Allen, the editor of Computeractive about the magazine’sfight for online rights.
TechRadar: So, how has the campaigngone so far?
Paul Allen: It was only launchedtoday, but we have already had one retailer contact us and say they arerewriting their terms and conditions, making them clearer for buyers which isgreat.
TR: Are you against onlineshopping?
PA: Not at all, online shopping isa brilliant, quick and easy way of buying goods, it’s just that we feel thereneeds to be more enforcement for people after they buy goods online.
The government has recentlyannounced new legislation protecting people purchasing items, but we are focusingon what goes on after purchasing, when you want to send things back or getgoods repaired. We need more education about this.
TR: What was the age range of thepeople polled.
PA: The magazine has a readershipof over 200,00 and we polled 3,500. The age range was between 35 to 65.
TR: What would you like to seehappen?
PA: We think online retailers havea responsibility and they should make the returning of goods a great dealeasier. We are not saying that there is a big conspiracy on the internet aboutthis; it’s more a series of little crimes with various online retailers failingto make it simple for online buyers to contact them when something goes wrongwith a product.
TR: How can online retailers dothis?
PA: It comes down really to simple things,like putting up postal addresses for the return of goods. Looking at the datawe have gathered we found that reputable retailers like the O2 Store and Screwfixhave failed to put their postal addresses up on their website. Or if they have,they are so tucked away that it’s impossible for your average buyer to find.
TR: How exactly is Apple contraveningthe ‘Distance Selling Regulations’?
PA: We are still waiting for a responsefrom the company on this, but Computeractive found that, when it comes tosending stuff back, the company has two tiers of charges of collecting andprocessing – depending on the price of the product – and this simply isn’tallowed.
The Office of Fair Trading clearlystates that the supplier has to give a full refund and cannot make any chargeor deduction for restocking or handling.
TR: What would you like to seehappen at the end of the campaign?
PA: In the end what we want tohappen is simple: we want online retailers to communicate clearly with theircustomers. At the moment, this just isn’t happening.