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Consumer Minister Jenny Willott confirms extra funding for the National Trading Standards Board to investigate misleading websites.
Misleading websites that try and palm themselves off as legitimate government services are to come under the spotlight from Trading Standards today (4 March 2014) as Consumer Minister Jenny Willott confirmed extra funding for them to help tackle these rogue traders.
The Minister has committed an additional £120,000 this financial year to National Trading Standards Board (NTSB) so they can investigate these websites. This money will help NTSB also tackle websites that exaggerate the nature of the services they provide or deliberately underplay that people can get them for free or at a lower cost from official sources.
The extra funding for NTSB will mean that they are better equipped to identify, investigate and take enforcement action against any misleading websites that pass themselves off as official government services.
Consumer Minister Jenny Willott said:
“Misleading websites which dupe people into believing they are using the official government channel need to be stopped in their tracks. The unfortunate reality is that a minority are exploiting those who are perhaps less web-savvy and we need to clamp down on them. These rogues that con people out of their hard earned cash need to know that the full glare of Trading Standards is now on them.”
NTSB Chair Lord Toby Harris said:
“Copycat websites that deceive consumers are a growing problem. These sites frequently encourage consumers to pay a fee or an extra charge for a service that is readily or freely available from the official website. Moreover, they often require those accessing them to share information that is personal and should be held securely. This additional government support to help tackle this challenge is most welcome. By working together in this way we look forward to reducing consumer detriment and supporting legitimate businesses.”
Government continues to work with organisations such as the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), Which? and the major search engines, including Google, to raise awareness of the threat posed by misleading websites
Work is underway across government to achieve these ambitions, including progress on more than 250 measures as part of the Growth Review. Developing an Industrial Strategy gives new impetus to this work by providing businesses, investors and the public with more clarity about the long-term direction in which the government wants the economy to travel.