Boots first to go under anti-trust’s Web review

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Boots first to go under anti-trust’s Web review

From later this month, shoppers in Korea will be able to gain accurate information on various items they plan to purchase by utilizing an online report launched by the country’s watchdog.

The Fair Trade Commission said yesterday that it will open its online consumer report page on March 19, allowing consumers to learn about the overall quality and price of items they wish to buy by reading product reviews posted by other individual consumers and consumer groups.

The report is loosely based on a popular tool now being used in the United States.

“We are working on the final stages of putting the online consumer report together before opening it to the public,” said an official from the FTC. The online report page will be installed on a consumer information Web site (www.smartconsumer.go.kr).

According to the antitrust agency, the first item that consumers will be able to post product reviews on will be hiking shoes.

The popularity of hiking shoes has been soaring with the onset of spring, while also riding on the back of rising growth in the country’s outdoor apparel market in recent years.

Consumers will also be able to compare the prices and quality of other items including baby clothes, humidifiers and baby strollers later this month.

In April, the FTC said it plans to offer information on products that have courted recent controversy due to their excessively high prices, such as children’s beverages.

These items will be followed by franchise coffee items and kettles in May, and then by mask packs, consumer batteries and headphones in June.

Within the first half of this year, the FTC plans to offer consumers a mobile application that provides the same information that is available on the Web site.

The trade commission’s decision to produce an online consumer report page comes amid growing cases of unfair practices in the local market, including price fixing by manufacturing firms.

Korea’s consumer prices surged last year, averaging around 4 percent, which the government said is partly to blame for the unusually high prices set by manufacturers.



By Lee Eun-joo [angie@joongang.co.kr]

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