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Antitrust watchdog to tighten scrutiny on delinquent online sellers

Fair Trade Commission Chairman Han Ki-jeong talks during a press conference held at Sejong Government Complex on Nov. 14. (Yonhap)
Fair Trade Commission Chairman Han Ki-jeong talks during a press conference held at Sejong Government Complex on Nov. 14. (Yonhap)

South Korea’s antitrust watchdog said Suday it will come up with effective measures to restrict delinquent online sellers using popular customer-to-customer platforms such as Karrot and Joonggonara.

The Fair Trade Commission will guide platform operators to voluntarily enhance their user protection system and regulate business-driven sellers who are business owners rather than ordinary individuals.

This comes in response to increasing fraudulent damage and dispute cases reported from sales of counterfeit items and scams.

Near a quarter of online flea market platform users who participated in a survey conducted by the Korea Consumer Agency in August said they have experienced some type of consumer damage.

The FTC plans to discuss with such platforms ways to operate fair and transparent dispute resolution standards and procedures, as well as to come up with effective restriction measures on delinquent online sellers.

It will also promote sealing agreements with C2C platforms to voluntarily remove and prevent recalled products and dangerous items from being traded through the platforms.

The FTC is also considering sharing information about delinquent sellers between online flea market platforms to prevent consumer damage.

The antitrust watchdog is trying to come up with ways to fill loopholes in platforms like Karrot that do not require sellers to provide personal information, but at the same time not trespass on sellers’ right to self-determine personal information they want to reveal.

Last year, the FTC faced strong disapproval from the industry while trying to revise the Electronic Commerce Act to make online sellers reveal their name, phone number, and address to consumers.

“We will actively discuss with platform operators to come up with ways to resolve fraudulent damages. We will come back to whether we should revise the Electronic Commerce Act or not after we have a sufficient discussion with the industry,” FTC Chairman Han Ki-jeong told reporters at a press conference held last week.



By Hong Yoo (yoohong@heraldcorp.com)
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