IGE on consumer protection discusses challenges enhanced by the pandemic

The yearly meeting of the Intergovernmental Group of Experts (IGE) on Consumer Protection Law and Policy took place on 5 and 6 July. The rapid growth of the digital economy during the pandemic and the challenges arising for consumers were key issues under discussion. Among these challenges, predatory pricing by online retailers, privacy concerns related to the use of personal data without consent, and the need to ensure that consumers benefit from the use of their data were mentioned. Discussions also noted the need to close the digital divide, which has grown during the pandemic and threatens to entrench existing inequalities. It was also suggested that consumer protection agencies had a role to play in facilitating sustainable consumption to tackle climate change. In a session dedicated to competition in the digital economy, the need to improve and complement competition law in order to achieve fair competition in digital markets was highlighted. The IGE on Consumer Protection Law and Policy is a standing body established under the United Nations Guidelines for Consumer Protection (UNGCP) to monitor the application and implementation of the guidelines, provide a forum for consultations, produce research and studies, provide technical assistance, undertake voluntary peer reviews, and periodically update the guidelines.