E-commerce is increasing and consumers are already quite comfortable with buying a variety of products and services online. However, sometimes they get disappointed when websites with flashy marketing fail to get certain basic things right.
Homeenter Oy invited Internet users to join entertainment clubs: musiclub, filmclub or, for instance, a movie club for kids. However, many consumers found themselves wanting more detailed information and wondering about the company's ways of doing business. The Consumer Agency received numerous reports regarding the company. Closer inspection of the company's website revealed several issues, including missing company contact information, unclearly presented contract terms, missing information regarding the minimum value of purchases and a right-of-return period that was shorter than the legal requirement. Furthermore, prices were inappropriately indicated not as a total price, but as several smaller parts. For example, standard delivery costs should always be included in the indicated price.
The use of the words ”satisfaction guaranteed” was also criticised, as consumers were simply offered their standard statutory rights. The list of problems also included misleading direct marketing, the lack of a no-cost option for participating in marketing sweepstakes, and a failure to give proper consideration to the position of minors as parties to an agreement. On top of all this, the choice to accept electronic direct marketing was marked "Yes" by default on the web form.
The Consumer Agency contacted the company. The website's failings were worked on and, for the most part, corrected.
Getting these types of basic aspects right from the start makes sense for a business. Failure to uphold consumers' rights will not make a business come across as responsible and reliable. The Consumer Agency provides a guide on e-commerce to help businesses check that their virtual store meets construction standards. The Agency's website also has information on the rules governing marketing sweepstakes and lotteries and other basic aspects of consumer marketing. KUV/3341/41/2007