The work of ICPEN focuses around specific initiatives, which aim to implement the Network’s strategic objectives to:
- Generate and share information and intelligence on consumer protection issues.
- Share best practice in legislative and enforcement approaches to consumer protection.
- Take action to combat cross-border breaches of consumer protection laws.
- Identify and promote measures for effective consumer protection enforcement.
- Promote and encourage wider participation, coordinated work, communication and cooperation with other consumer protection enforcement organisations.
- Facilitate cross-border remedies.
ICPEN has three enduring initiatives that contribute to achieving its strategic objectives:
Fraud Prevention Month
The Fraud Prevention Month initiative is a series of education campaigns run every year by ICPEN members under a common theme but focusing on an issue relevant to each individual participating agency.
Through this initiative we educate consumers and businesses about scams and furnish them with appropriate information on how to protect themselves from falling prey to unfair businesses.
Each year ICPEN participants implement various Fraud Prevention Month activities. We have addressed such topics as:
- deceptive and aggressive retail tactics used to lure consumers into an agreement,
- identity theft,
- misleading advertising,
- legal requirements concerning pricing information and labelling,
- online shopping,
- false lottery and business directories,
- health fraud.
Often our campaigns target particular audiences including the young, the elderly, small businesses and charities, and have a range of community, non-government, and private sector organisations as partners.
International Internet Sweep Day
The International Internet Sweep Day initiative is a pro-active enforcement tool to target growth in fraudulent and deceptive conduct emerging on the Internet and other forms of electronic communication.
The aim of the International Internet Sweep Day is to build consumer confidence in e-commerce through having a day dedicated to intensive searching to provide a list of suspicious sites for later enforcement action.
Sweeps play a significant role by:
- Improving market conduct by demonstrating an enforcement presence online;
- Raising the profile of each participating agency by promoting their involvement in a significant event with agencies from over 30 economies;
- Facilitating further action by each agency from education, enforcement and international referrals in light of information revealed from the Sweep; and
- Broadening Internet users awareness by releasing information through the media;
On International Internet Sweep Day consumer protection agencies, including non-ICPEN member agencies, across the world are dedicated to intensive searching on a theme which will change each year. The International Internet Sweep Day results in identifying suspicious sites for later enforcement or educative action by the consumer protection agencies.
The econsumer.gov is a partnership of more than 35 consumer protection authorities that are also members of ICPEN. Consumers can report cross-border complaints through the website and learn about alternative ways to resolve international disputes. Importantly, ICPEN members that participate in this initiative have access to their country complaint data.
From time to time ICPEN may develop industry guidance material that reflects the basic principles of fair trading practices in ICPEN member countries. Industry guidance does not provide a shelter from liability in any ICPEN member country. ICPEN enforcers must assess conduct under their national laws, on a case-by-case basis, and remain free to take action to address any conduct which infringes their national laws, whether or not it may technically comply with ICPEN industry guidance material.
In June 2016 ICPEN released industry guidance on Online Reviews and Endorsements (ORE) for review administrators, traders and markets, and digital influencers. These guidelines provide the simple dos and dont's for review sites, traders and marketing businesses, and digital influencers, such as bloggers and vloggers.
- ICPEN ORE Guidance for Review Administrators
- ICPEN ORE Guidance for Traders and Marketers
- ICPEN ORE Guidance for Digital Influencers