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l technology l e -commerce l collaboration Talking shop Consumers still need protection, no matter how they buy their goods, David MacKenzie tells TSIs Joe Blamey D ealing with the ever-advancing world of online retail, the coming and going of technology, and changing opportunities for unscrupulous traders to exploit consumers, may seem like a daunting task, but David MacKenzie along with Paul Miloseski-Reid has stepped up to the role of TSI lead officer fore-commerce. I use all sorts of sources to stay up to date, says MacKenzie. It can be tough from a technological perspective and email alerts arent always relevant but a key source that I still find helpful is the Citizens Advice consumer helpline database, which shows what people are complaining about. MacKenzie believes there are many similarities between those tradingonline and in the high street. The same principles apply people are still buying and selling, its just on a different level, he says. A lot of businesses want to comply, but struggle to find the correct regulations. There are various informational requirements that dont apply to online retailers. Typically, a large number of the businesses MacKenzie refers to are sellers using eBay and Auto Trader, who begin trading as a hobby, but who quickly see their enterprise take off. MacKenzie says: A big problem with multi-seller platforms of all descriptions, including social media, is that it is hard to identify who the sellers actually are. Itis difficult to get information from the websites and to make sure sellers adhere to the correct legislative requirements. However, it is not the role of a lead officer simply to address the challenging landscape of e-commerce. You also have to be a point of information for trading standards officers needing assistance or information on a specific subject, explains MacKenzie. I find it very satisfying to help a colleague who has a real issue to find an answer. Having been in that position myself, it is great to have someone to bounce ideas off, or to point you in the rightdirection. MacKenzie, who is a team leader at Highland Council, also works with TSIs partners, and with governmental organisations, on consultations and policies connected to his area of expertise. Working with the now-defunct Office of Fair Trading, Society of Chief Officers of Trading Standards in Scotland, Consumer Futures, Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) and Citizens Advice Scotland, MacKenzie helped to create the Statement of principles for parceldeliveries, after internet businesses were found to be unfairly charging high delivery fees to people living in rural and remote areas. The initiative has now been signed off by BIS, TSI and Citizens Advice, and will be rolled out across the UK. It was great to see something grow from what began as an interest only for rural consumers, into a UK-wide initiative, says MacKenzie. We hope to move toward some kind of trader scheme for the industry. It it would be good to have acodeofconduct. K N O W YO U R LEAD OFFICER NAME: David MacKenzie ROLE: Joint lead officer for e-commerce TIME IN POST: 14 months Credits Published You might also like Joe Blamey is assistant 28 October, 2014 TSI experts October 2014 issue communications officeratTSI Images: Bplanet / Shutterstock To share this page, click on in the toolbar