The sky was falling, dogs and cats were getting along and every third party online merchant was going out of business! Yes, that’s what a bunch of drama queens would have had you think several months back when the Online Shoppers Confidence Act was signed into law. We discussed it here back in January and left it wondering how things would pan out. Did you happen to notice a difference? I didn’t. Or I didn’t get that memo. And here I thought Do Not Track was going to be the downfall of the human race.
It’s ironic, isn’t it? The Restore Online Shoppers Confidence Act is actually supposed to restore our confidence in buying online. Did we lose confidence at some point or did we just not see the whole picture? What whole picture, I don’t hear you ask? Let’s look specifically at what was going on that’s not supposed to anymore.
First and foremost, a merchant cannot give your information to a third party merchant (someone selling something on the first merchant’s site).
Second, before that third party merchant can obtain information from you, they must disclose that they have nothing to do with the initial merchant, list all material terms of the purchase and tell you about all negative option offers (essentially telling you that you will be billed for future items or services unless you tell them NOW that you don’t want them) and only then can they obtain your billing and credit card information.
The scary thing is…doesn’t that just make sense anyway? Doesn’t that sound like doing business in an ethical manner? Many didn’t think so. How dare the government get involved and require transparency where there was money to be made! I imagine those folks are still running since it’s made very clear that every state attorney general can sue them in federal court for violating it. That leaves me with a warm feeling inside.
My confidence in online shopping has indeed been restored!