Consumer watch dog crack down on online "drip pricing"

THE consumer watchdog is set to crackdown on online "drip pricing" in the courts, as well as misleading retail energy plans and dodgy extended warranties.

On Friday, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission released its 2014 compliance and enforcement policy, outlining its focus areas for the year.

As part of its crackdown, commission chairman Rod Sims also confirmed on Friday the watchdog was preparing for court action against online retailers who were active in "drip pricing".

The pricing strategy, growing amongst online retailers of concert tickets, involves advertising a headline price on a product, before hitting consumers with a series of extra fees and charges before paying online.

As part of its enforcement policy, each year the commission looks at "new and emerging issues", with 2014 to be focussed on drip pricing, misleading retail energy plan promotions and dodgy online scams.

Mr Sims said anyone who had gone online to buy tickets to a football match, or airfares would be aware of drip pricing.

"Consumers may see a 'headline' price advertised at the beginning of the booking process but when they progress to the payment phase, they find that additional fees and charges have been added," he said.

The commission will also investigate competition issues in "highly concentrated sectors", with 2014 to have a continued focus on the market practices of the major supermarkets and fuel sectors.



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