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Government launches ad campaign
to encourage online shopping

LONDON - The government has launched a TV and radio advertising campaign, featuring Birds of a Feather actress Linda Robson, to encourge consumers to shop online this Christmas as research reveals almost 50% of web shoppers fear credit card fraud.

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The Clicking With Confidence campaign, which breaks this week, aims to raise awareness about online shopping and demonstrate that it is safe, providing that customers follow basic guidelines.



The research was carried out by the Department of Trade & Industry to coincide with the campaign. The results revealed that 26% of people in the UK or approximately 12m people have shopped online in the past 12 months. Londoners are the most likely to shop online, with 35% of those questioned saying they had purchased goods at least once from a website. Those living in Wales were the least likely -- only 14% had bought online products.


The research found that 57% of those questioned said that they were unlikely to shop online in the next year, while 47% of online shoppers fear credit card fraud and almost a third were concerned about giving out personal information.



The campaign offers advice on online shopping on the new e-commerce section on the government's consumer website and in leaflets to be sent out to libraries, Citizens' Advice Bureaux and local authorities.



Advice from the government's consumer website includes using a well-known or recommended site, obtaining the supplier's phone number and postal address, checking refund policies and keeping print-outs of order forms. The campaign also highlights that all high-street shopping rights apply online.



E-commerce minister Douglas Alexander said: "Shopping online can save time and money. More people shop online here in the UK than in any other country in Europe. This campaign aims to help both customers and online retailers."



He added: "E-commerce is transforming UK business. Companies recognise that a good website is as vital today as a shop window. We have won wide support from business because they recognise the importance of building the trust of the consumer to maintaining and expanding their markets."



The campaign, which was created in-house at the DTI, is being backed by Amazon, AOL UK, BTopenworld and all the major consumer and retail associations.



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