Customer have shopping smarts thanks to something or other
Do you know your rights? Apparently you do. You may not think you do, whilst you're sat there, dribbling at your flickering monitor in your stained undercrackers, listlessly flicking dead insects from your hair whilst dreaming of a day when you'll be allowed to eat Angel Delight dry from the packet wearing nothing more than a dirty grin in a bus-stop... but you are more aware of your rights than ever before.
That's according to studies by some staggeringly dull people at the Office of Fair Trading (OFT). They're saying that internet shoppers are more aware of what is just and more online retailers are complying with consumer protection laws than ever before.
In essence, retailers are upping their game because they're aware that they're being watched by a horde of e-smartarses.
The OFT carried out a survey of online shoppers and a study of online shops in a follow up to research from 2007 (remember 2007? What a year that was! It was International Heliophysical Year as well as being the year Anna Nicole Smith randomly shuffled off her mortal honkers) which showed that a lot of consumers were completely ignorant of their rights and many sites thought it would be fine to take advantage of it.
The report said, without anything moist to counterbalance the dryness: "Overall assumed compliance and information provision by online businesses has improved with more sites now providing full geographical addresses, and fewer sites imposing restrictions on cancellations," it said.
Assumed compliance? What does that mean? Apparently, it's the term used in these studies when sites they examine appear to operate in line with the law.
"A greater proportion of sites reviewed in 2009 appeared to comply on all aspects for which they were assessed," said its report of its 'sweep' of retail websites. "While the web sweep covered larger businesses, it is possible that assumed compliance of smaller sites, not included in the review, also improved due to the larger sites setting a higher standard."
Isn't that thrilling news? They go on to give woolly figures about how we're all better equipped when it comes to calling out foul play on retailers who think it's alright to mess us about. I'd tell you the stats but, to be quite honest, you'd probably try killing yourselves (again) if I typed it all out.
The report also claims that less of you are using price comparison websites. They reckon that's because we're more likely to keep going back to familiar sites, rather than concluding that price comparison shopping was on the wane. Whether they've looked into the fact that price comparison sites make the most irritating adverts on TV is not clear. I know for a fact that there's a secret army of people being gathered in an underground lair ready to find the people responsible for the Go Compare commercial, ready to flog them like canines in the street.
So what does all this statistical shit mean? Effectively, it suggests that we're all a lot more confident when buying crap online... but you chumps probably knew that anyway. Sorry for wasting your time.