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Abstract

With the advent of e-commerce, the potential of new Internet technologies to mislead or deceive consumers has increased considerably. This paper extends prior classifications of deception and presents a typology of product-related deceptive information practices that illustrates the various ways in which online merchants can deceive consumers via e-commerce product websites. The typology can be readily used as educational material to promote consumer awareness of deception in e-commerce and as input to establish benchmarks for good business practices for online companies. In addition, the paper develops an integrative model and a set of theory-based propositions addressing why consumers are deceived by the various types of deceptive information practices and what factors contribute to consumer success (or failure) in detecting such deceptions. The model not only enhances our conceptual understanding of the phenomenon of product-based deception and its outcomes in e-commerce but also serves as a foundation for further theoretical and empirical investigations. Moreover, a better understanding of the factors contributing to or inhibiting deception detection can also help government agencies and consumer organizations design more effective solutions to fight online deception.

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