Building a Digital World Consumers Can Trust
March 4, 2017
On 15th March, Consumer Council of Fiji will be celebrating World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD). This will be part of a global campaign to build a better Digital World that promotes access, participation and innovation that is good for consumers, the economy and society. World Consumer Rights Day is celebrated annually to mark the anniversary of President John F Kennedy’s address to the US congress on 15 March 1962, in which he formally addressed the issue of consumer rights. He was the first world leader to do so.
Consumer organisations from across the globe, in partnership with Consumers International, will come together with one common theme; and that is Building a Digital World Consumers can Trust. This brings together over 200 member organisations in more than 100 countries to champion the rights of consumers everywhere.
Globally, less than 10% of people living in the world’s least economically developed countries access the internet, compared with more than 80% in developed countries.
People worry about what is happening to their data online. In fact, three quarters (74%) of people worldwide are concerned about how companies online use their information.
Despite the growth of online sales, in 2015, online retail sales accounted for 7.4% of total worldwide sales, worth around 1.55 trillion US dollars, people still aren’t sure what their rights to redress is when it comes to online sales.
What is digital consumer trust and how can we build it?
Digital technology is having a dramatic impact on consumers around the world. By 2020, 52% of the world’s population will be online – this means the number of people accessing the internet will have grown by a third in just five years.
Technology has given many consumers more choice, convenience and information, but important issues remain. A concerted effort is needed to give those not yet connected a chance to do so, at an affordable cost, while ensuring everyone’s data is kept safe and secure and to help consumers know which services they can trust.
Integral to building trust and confidence in digital technology is consumer protection and empowerment.
Consumers give personal information such as bank account details, credit card details, email addresses, identity details or medical information when accessing goods and services online. When this information is lost, or stolen, the effects can be serious. Often it is left to consumers to prove that they have been affected, and to seek redress, instead of companies putting things right.
World Consumer Rights Day will provide an excellent opportunity to set the agenda for a digital world that champions all that is good about Digital connectedness. And these are access, choice and security for consumers. This is why the Council is supporting the theme on Digital age.
On the 15th March, Consumers International, in partnership with German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection (BMJV) and the Federation of German Consumer Organisations, will co-host a G20 consumer summit in Berlin, Germany. The summit will be an official part of the Germany presidency of the G20 and will aim to highlight the importance of consumer protection and empowerment in the digital economy.
To mark the occasion, Consumer Council of Fiji will be joining the wider campaign by highlighting issues faced by consumers to gain attention of businesses, governments and legislators to enact change. Keeping this in mind, the Council will host a Café Style debate to celebrate the World Consumer Rights Day on the topic “online security and data breaches”.
How can you get involved?
In the coming days, Consumer Council of Fiji will be using social media to highlight lack of consumer trust in the digital age. We encourage consumers to join us through social media to share their experience and to give their views on different issues. Also, consumers interested in attending WCRD celebration on 15 March can contact our office for an invite.
Consumers International will also be coordinating a range of social media activities on the day on Twitter and Facebook. Visit www.consumersinternational.org to find out more about how you can join the call for a #BetterDigitalWorld.