(Yicai Global) March 27 -- A majority of Chinese consumers say that online retail platforms, including those for travel bookings and ride-hailing, optimize pricing in order to make them pay as much as possible.
Some 88 percent of consumers believe that digital shopping platforms charge customized prices for each client by using Big Data to collect users' online behavior, according to a survey released today by the Beijing Consumers Association. Some 57 percent of them say that they have been subject to this phenomenon.
Platform operators usually defend their right to differentiate their offering while keeping the algorithms as business secrets, the report shows. Merchants often try to upsell by pushing notifications of more expensive products so it is hard to determine if consumer rights are breached.
Survey participants suggested that a way to reduce unfair price optimizing would be strengthening supervision, tightening legislation, and enhancing consumers' awareness of the issue. E-commerce companies should also work toward more equal pricing conditions, they added.
Editor: Emmi Laine