Web of deceit

According to the Trading Standards Institute, shopping on the internet may not be quite as dot-clickingly hassle-free as we might have hoped.

According to the Trading Standards Institute, shopping on the internet may not be quite as dot-clickingly hassle-free as we might have hoped.

The Institute found that 38 per cent of orders made on the Web did not arrive on time, and 17 per cent did not arrive at all. Some sad stories about squashed chocs, mislaid bouquets and missing mice are recounted in the Trading Standards Institute's booklet entitled Shopping on the Internet - Better Safe than Sorry.

Bad news for e-commerce? Not really. We wonder if the perils of hyperspace shopping are really all that much worse than those that have traditionally distressed the consumer in rip-off Britain down the years. Supermarkets. The building trade. Travel agents. Estate agents. Used car salesmen. New car salesmen. Pensions salesmen. Cheap credit-card deals that aren't. Organic food that isn't. Endowment policies that don't endow. Old economy or new, the best advice remains: caveat emptor.

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