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About ICPEN

 

The International Consumer Protection Enforcement Network (ICPEN) is a membership organization consisting of consumer protection law enforcement authorities from across the globe. ICPEN provides a forum for developing and maintaining regular contact between consumer protection agencies and focusing on consumer protection concerns. By encouraging cooperation between agencies ICPEN aims to enable its members to have a greater impact with their consumer laws and regulations.

Colombia has been a member of ICPEN since October 2013 and since its entry has actively participated and assumed a regional leadership that allowed it to be elected as president of the network for the period of 2019-2020. Its ICPEN’s Program of Work for 2019-2020 “guide consumers in the digital world” under the Colombians presidency has allowed the SIC to coordinate the following ICPEN´s projects about:

  • Unfair trading practices regarding digital platforms in the tourism sector: the aim of this working group is to use the results of ICPEN 2019 sweep and explore how ICPEN members can collaborate to develop investigative tools and training materials to identify and design remedies to combat these unfair practices in digital platforms in the tourism sector.
  • Digital contract terms and conditions: the aim of this working group is to make efficient use of ICPEN as a mean to address consumer problems identified by its members. This could be achieved by using the ISG report and facilitating follow-up enforcement and compliance actions on national, bilateral and multilateral levels.
  • Marketing practices directed to children in the digital world: the aim of this working group is to explore marketing methods in the new digital media landscape (e.g. manipulative marketing techniques and lack of transparency) and children’s engagement with such marketing practices and to exchange best practices.
  • E-consumer.gov & Cross Border Complaints: the aim of this working group is to provide ongoing information and analysis of trends from econsumer.gov as well as provides more training on econsumer.gov use, through videos and other projects. Econsumer.gov is ICPEN‟s primary complaint tool/database where consumers can report international scams and learn about other steps to combat fraud.
  • Consumer education: the aim of this working group is to raise the awareness on consumer rights and obligations through the use of social media. Specifically, during the Colombian Presidency this group will focus on consumer’s awareness of personal data use in online transactions (platforms, social media, online retailers, etc.)

Due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 and the WTO pandemic declaration, the Canadian presidency has created a new working group that will face the new challenges that consumer protection authorities will have to deal in this new global context.

The working group is called “Enforcement during COVID-19: Consumer protection issues, international cooperation and responses during a pandemic” and is co-lead by the SIC and the FTC from the United States of America.  And has as members the authorities from Netherlands, Zambia, Peru, Germany and Chile.

This working group has the following objectives:

•    Examine the consumer protection issues that arose/have arisen from COVID-19 and what agencies have done to address such issues.
•    Examine how consumer protection agencies can foster agility to respond to emerging consumer protection issues in situations like this.
•    Examine telework arrangements and how agencies mobilize resources to progress enforcement matters while working from home. 

The SIC is also the Coordinator of the Fraud Prevention Month activity created to coordinate common campaigns for related consumer protection topics among all the members. 

The SIC is a member since 2020 of the working group “Artificial Intelligence: The challenges and benefits for consumer protection agencies”. This WG has the goal to gather knowledge and collect information on how AI is / could be used by consumer protection agencies to support their goals.

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