OFT: No evidence for 'online personal pricing'
Media reports have suggested that some ecommerce businesses have been using ‘cookies’ to change the prices shown on their websites based on the visitor’s online behaviour. While I wouldn’t be surprised to find out this is happening, an Office of Fair Trading (OFT) report has found no evidence of such practices on websites operated by UK businesses.
The OFT Findings
The OFT encourages consumers to be more aware of the information they share with online retailers, and the retailers to be more transparent about their data collection and what they use it for. It seems that retailers are using the aggregated data to understand visitor behaviours more than customising prices.
Devious techniques such as stating ‘best price’ when that price is more than others pay, or falsely claiming that a site was offering discounts were highlighted by the OFT in their report as harmful to consumers.
The EU Cookie Controversy
This links in to the recent controversy around the UK cookie law which has resulted in many websites using popups and banners to get people to accept cookies when visiting their websites. Local company Silktide led a campaign to scrap the cookie messages, and many sites have since removed them after the government largely backed down on the issue.
Download the full OFT report
More from Silktide about their cookie law campaign