UK Net users ripped off - Report

It's just as easy to pay high prices online as off, say a new generation of Internet comparison-shopping engines

The Internet may have some good deals, but its impulse-buying nature may lead consumers to get ripped off.

That's the message of Kelkoo.com, a recently-launched Internet comparison-shopping service. In a report published Thursday, the site highlights the fact that prices vary widely among online shops -- in some cases edging above high street prices.

For example, a quick search shows Martin Amis' new memoir, 'Experience', costs up to £19.95 (including postage) online, compared with £18.00 in the bookshops. Online shops such as Gillihams, Amazon and Waterstones offer the book for £10.95 including postage.

"It's common practice for consumers to shop around on the high street and seek out the best prices, but people are failing to do the same when it comes to buying online and we've proven that this oversight is costing them dear," said Kelkoo UK country manager Philip Wilkinson in a statement.

Kelkoo may have a vested interest in promoting Internet comparison shopping, but it is just one of a rash of such ventures launching in the UK over the last few months. One of the most innovative may be Scan.com (see Impulse m-commerce with Scan.com), which lets you comparison shop by typing an item's bar code into your mobile phone -- with the option to buy instantly using just a text message.

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See also: the e-commerce special.

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