Friday, August 7th, 2020
A pandemic is a difficult time to run a business, but just how bad is the situation amid COVID-19?
The most recent data by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the official protector of US consumers, shows a tough struggle among ecommerce merchants.
Consumer complaints have surged significantly amid a crisis. Over 50 percent of those grievances addressed products that did not reach their customers (or undelivered products), with not-received facemasks more rampant.
FTC, being the consumer protector, receives complaints from US shoppers and easily extracted this data from the number of cases filed in April through May.
The report titled the Consumer Protection Data Spotlight indicates that shoppers filed to the tune of 34,000 internet-shopping cases with the Federal Trade Commission.
Of all the grievances, “Product not received” cases were the most reported, cited by 18,000 customers. And to everyone’s amusement, the most commonly mentioned product was facemasks. Other items included gloves, hand sanitizer, thermometers, and toilet paper.
The trend is weird, given most of these items are the best-sellers amid the Coronavirus.
Whether the failure to deliver items was the genuine result of the unprecedented difficulties amid a pandemic or fraud has a part to play is still a bone of contention.
Though FTC has witnessed an increase in ecommerce shopping complaints over the past years, ‘product not received’ cases in May 2020 only, show the count of such reports almost doubled that rate in Dec 2019, during the eventful festive shopping spree.
The Federal Trade Commission is the official market watchdog who ensures fair competition and safeguards and educates customers.
These statistics show the negative impacts of a pandemic on online shopping activities. They also lend credence to the idea that fraudsters geared up to rip off shoppers during a crisis. Perhaps future studies will shine more light on the matter.