OECD Policy Responses to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

This series compiles data, analysis and recommendations on a range of topics to address the health, economic and societal crisis, facilitate co-ordination, and contribute to the necessary global action when confronting this enormous collective challenge. Bringing together policy responses spanning a large range of topics, from health to education and taxes, it provides guidance on the short-term measures in affected sectors and a specific focus on the vulnerable sectors of society and the economy. The content also aims to provide analysis on the longer-term consequences and impacts, steering the way towards a strong, resilient, green and inclusive recovery with co-ordinated policy responses across countries.

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Protecting online consumers during the COVID-19 crisis

The COVID-19 crisis has upended the global consumer landscape. Confinement measures have moved consumers further online, changed their demands and exacerbated behavioural biases.

Many mainstream consumers are now financially and psychologically vulnerable and the existing vulnerability of, for instance, the elderly or low-income consumers, has intensified.

There are increasing reports of unfair, misleading and fraudulent commercial practices online. These include financial scams, false claims of coronavirus treatment or prevention, price gouging of essential goods and the promotion of unsafe or counterfeit products.

Many governments must strike a balance between protecting consumers’ health and safety, strengthening consumer trust, and addressing challenges to business and workers. This has led some governments to fast-track procedures and grant exemptions from consumer laws.

Increased international and cross-sector co-operation among government agencies, businesses, and civil society are key to protecting consumers. Information sharing has become more valuable than ever, particularly for agencies with limited resources.


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