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Online Consumers ? What Are They Complaining About?

For many businesses, e-commerce represents a tremendous method for generating revenues. To maximize the profit potential, you need to keep an eye on issues that drive your prospects nuts. The FTC maintain a list of the top 10 "dot.cons" complained about by consumers. If your site falls within one of these industries, you must make sure you address these concerns.

Consumer Complaints

According to the FTC, here's what online consumers are complaining about most:

Internet Auctions

The Bait: Shop in a "virtual marketplace" that offers a huge selection of products at great deals.

The Switch: After sending their money, consumers say they've received an item that is less valuable than promised, or, worse yet, nothing at all.

Internet Access Services

The Bait: Free money, simply for cashing a check.

The Switch: Consumers say they've been "trapped" into long-term contracts for Internet access or another web service, with big penalties for cancellation or early termination.

Credit Card Fraud

The Bait: Surf the Internet and view adult images online for free, just for sharing your credit card number to prove you're over 18.

The Switch: Consumers say that fraudulent promoters have used their credit card numbers to run up charges on their cards.

International Modem Dialing

The Bait: Get free access to adult material and pornography by downloading a "viewer" or "dialer" computer program.

The Switch: Consumers complained about exorbitant long-distance charges on their phone bill. Through the program, their modem is disconnected, then reconnected to the Internet through an international long-distance number.

Web Cramming

The Bait: Get a free custom-designed website for a 30-day trial period, with no obligation to continue.

The Switch: Consumers say they've been charged on their telephone bills or received a separate invoice, even if they never accepted the offer or agreed to continue the service after the trial period.

Multilevel Marketing Plans/ Pyramids

The Bait: Make money through the products and services you sell as well as those sold by the people you recruit into the program.

The Switch: Consumers say that they've bought into plans and programs, but their customers are other distributors, not the general public. Some multi-level marketing programs are actually illegal pyramid schemes. When products or services are sold only to distributors like yourself, there's no way to make money.

Travel and Vacation

The Bait: Get a luxurious trip with lots of "extras" at a bargain-basement price.

The Switch: Consumers say some companies deliver lower-quality accommodations and services than they've advertised or no trip at all. Others have been hit with hidden charges or additional requirements after they've paid.

Business Opportunities

The Bait: Be your own boss and earn big bucks.

The Switch: Taken in by promises about potential earnings, many consumers have invested in a "biz op" that turned out to be a "biz flop." There was no evidence to back up the earnings claims.

Investments

The Bait: Make an initial investment in a day trading system or service and you'll quickly realize huge returns.

The Switch: Big profits always mean big risk. Consumers have lost money to programs that claim to be able to predict the market with 100 percent accuracy.

Health Care Products/Services

The Bait: Items not sold through traditional suppliers are "proven" to cure serious and even fatal health problems.

The Switch: Claims for "miracle" products and treatments convince consumers that their health problems can be cured. But people with serious illnesses who put their hopes in these offers might delay getting the health care they need.

A Problem For Your Site?

These issues must be addressed if your site falls in one of these categories. Simply raise the issue in a prominent area of the site and tell the prospect why it will not be a problem on your site. Failure to do so will result in lost sales.

Halstatt Pires is with http://www.marketingtitan.com - an Internet marketing and advertising company comprised of a search engine optimization specialist providing meta tag optimization services and Internet marketing consultant providing internet marketing solutions through integrated design and programming services.

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