United States and Twelve Countries Unveil e-consumer.gov

Internet-based Project to Gather and Share Cross-Border e-Commerce Complaints Announced at International Marketing Supervision Network ("IMSN") Conference in New York

For Release

Responding to the challenges posed by cross-border Internet fraud and working to enhance consumer protection and consumer confidence in e-commerce, the United States and twelve countries* today unveiled econsumer.gov, a joint effort to gather and share cross-border e-commerce complaints. econsumer.gov, led by the United States Federal Trade Commission as president of the IMSN, will greatly improve international law enforcement agencies' ability to address cross-border Internet fraud and deception. This effort will be launched at the semi-annual IMSN conference in New York City, presided over by FTC Commissioner Mozelle W. Thompson.

"The global nature of ecommerce presents opportunities and challenges. The Internet offers consumers access to goods, services and information from around the world," said Chairman Robert Pitofsky. "But the borderless nature of the marketplace can also frustrate governments' ability to protect consumers. econsumer.gov will provide a new tool to allow countries to work together to make the Internet safer for consumers across the globe."

The project has two components: a multilingual public Web site - http://www.econsumer.gov - and a government, password-protected Web site. The public site will provide general information about consumer protection in all IMSN countries, contact information for consumer protection authorities in those countries, and an online complaint form. All information will be available in English, Spanish, French and German. Using the existing Consumer Sentinel network, a database of consumer complaint data and other investigatory information and operated by the FTC, the incoming complaints will be shared through the government Web site with participating consumer protection law enforcers that have signed a Confidentiality Agreement. Twelve participating countries and Chairman Robert Pitofsky on behalf the FTC signed a Memorandum of Understanding to implement the project. The FTC will maintain control over the public Web site and all data collected, and will host and maintain the site.

The vote to authorize the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding and Associated Confidentiality Agreement to implement the project was 5-0.

*   Australia -- The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
     Canada -- Competition Bureau, Industry Canada
     Denmark -- The Danish Consumer Ombudsman
     Finland -- The Finnish Consumer Ombudsman
     Hungary -- The Hungarian General Inspectorate for Consumer Protection
     Mexico -- Procuraduria Federal del Consumidor
     New Zealand -- The New Zealand Ministry for Consumer Affairs
     Norway -- The Norwegian Consumer Ombudsman
     South Korea -- The Korean Consumer Protection Board
     Sweden -- The Swedish Consumer Ombudsman
     Switzerland -- The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs of Switzerland
     United Kingdom -- UK Office of Fair Trading

 

     Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development

Copies of the Memorandum of Understanding and the Confidentiality Agreement are available from the FTC's web site at http://www.ftc.gov and also from the FTC's Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580. The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop and avoid them. To file a complaint, or to get free information on any of 150 consumer topics, call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the United States and abroad.

Eric London

Office of Public Affairs

202-326-2180

Hugh Stevenson or Lisa D. Rosenthal

Bureau of Consumer Protection

202-326-3511 or 202-326-2249

(FTC Matter No. P994313)

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