Use of personal data to ‘rip off’ online shoppers sparks inquiry | The Guardian

The government is launching an inquiry into the use of personal data to set individual prices for holidays, cars and household goods, amid rising fears of a consumer rip-off.

The research, supported by the competition watchdog, will explore the prevalence of “dynamic pricing” based on information gathered about an individual, such as location, marital status, birthday or travel history. With about 17% of retail sales now made online, according to the Office for National Statistics, there is rising concern about the use of technology, including artificial intelligence and bots, to “personalise” prices, to the disadvantage of some shoppers.

It has become common for online prices to fluctuate depending on time of day or availability – whether for gig tickets or Uber taxis. Now digital labels have begun to appear in shops, offering the potential to bring “surge pricing” into analogue sales.

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Use of personal data to ‘rip off’ online shoppers sparks inquiry | Money | The Guardian.