With consumers sharing information online about goods and services they have purchased, becoming less patient and more likely to switch, more effort than ever needs to be spent on converting net surfers to buyers and satisfying consumer expectations regarding the reliability of service and availability. This is the best guarantee of quality and we are confident the European legislator will take that into account when drafting new rules for e-commerce.
Underlining their commitment to responsible e-commerce and in order to safeguard high standards, European distance sellers have adopted codes of conduct. Many distance selling/e-commerce associations have also introduced trustmark schemes which enhance consumer confidence by guaranteeing appropriate behaviour regarding data confidentiality and safeguarding against unfair commercial practices. These national trustmarks are frequently backed by effective standards enforcement mechanisms.
Austria - Handelsverband
Quality E-commerce & Quality label for Distance Sellers :
Founded in 2001 and given a new logo in November 2010, the Austrian E-Commerce Quality trustmark’s aim is to increase quality awareness and consumer confidence when trading online. The label, which is currently being used by more than 60 Austrian online stores, certifies professionalism in the e-commerce trade. Thus law abiding e-traders can easily be recognised on the internet as trust worthy, customer friendly and quality oriented online traders.
The Austrian Retail Association (Handelsverband) also runs a long established Qualitätssiegel or Quality Label for distance sellers. Both trustmarks can only be used by e-commerce and distance selling players that have been thoroughly approved by a neutral survey body. An annual audit is carried out according to established quality criteria that include conformity with the law, user convenience and security of web functionalities. The list of criteria is kept in check with any evolutions of technical standards or legal rules.
Both the Quality E-commerce & Quality label trustmarks are in fact linked to a distance sellers’ code of conduct that obliges members to comply with a series of requirements, such as providing realistic, clear and accurate description of the goods and services; clear information on delivery conditions, packaging, postage; strict respect of the law concerning payment conditions and respect of privacy in data processing.
Greece - EPAM
EPAM, the Greek Association of Distance Selling and Direct Marketing, has members that perform sales activities through the web, call centers, catalogues or direct mail. All the members are self-committed to a code of conduct focusing on reliability, security, transparency and consequences regarding consumer issues. Thus EPAM’s members have achieved in becoming examples of companies with excellent operations across every distribution channel.
Since 2009 EPAM applies with success its logo as a system of trustmark in order to ensure consumers that every enterprise making use of that logo operates under the aforementioned code of conduct
Finland - ASML
ASML's trustmark : Reilun Pelin Jäsen
Member companies of the Finnish Direct Marketing Association (ASML) commit to following the self-regulatory codes adopted by ASML.
Member companies must observe principles of fair competition and conduct business in an ethical manner. Upon signing their membership application they commit to abiding by the association's codes of conduct.
Companies agree to provide consumers with full details of sales conditions which include a right of withdrawal. They signal to consumers that they abide by ASML’s code of ethics with the use of the ASML trustmark.
When a Company ends its membership of ASML, it may non longer use the ASML trustmark.
Portugal - ACEPI
Confiança Online Trust
The Portuguese Confiança Online Trust label was established by the Portuguese E-commerce Association (ACEPI) in collaboration with independent auditors in 2003.
The main objectives of Portugal’s Confiança Online Trust label are:
1) To increase companies and consumers confidence in e-commerce and homebanking operations,
2) To provide online traders (B2B and B2C) and banks with an instrument that verifies and shows the commitment to comply with Portuguese law and best practices in the online industry, and
3) To provide consumers and companies with an effective and fast dispute resolution system.
To be a member of Portugal’s trustmark scheme one must be a member of the Portuguese e-commerce association (ACEPI). Before having the right to display the trustmark, the websites are thoroughly audited. Accredited companies must comply with the requisites of a conformity manual. The trustmark is also linked to a dispute resolution scheme in the event of a conflict between consumers and traders.
Adherence to the rules of conduct is carefully monitored. A comprehensive audit checks the following issues: Legal framework; privacy and personal data protection; authentication, disclaimer and integrity of data; intellectual property protection; selling terms and conditions; claim and litigation resolution; publicity regulation; business availability; minors’ protection; management and update of contents; ergonomics, navigation and design and accessibility to citizens with special needs.
A serious breach of the trustmark rules may result in the exclusion of a company from the Confiança Online Trust scheme.
Germany - bvh
EHI - geprüfter Online-Shop
The German E-Commerce and Distance Selling Trade Association (Bundesverband des Deutschen Versandhandels, bvh) has developed an industry trustmark (“Gütesiegel”) in cooperation with the EHI Retail Institute (a scientific institute for Germany's retail industry).
The trustmark takes on board a list of recommendations from the German “D21” initiative (a large information society partnership at political and economical level). Companies that use the trustmark must comply with quality standards that have been agreed between the “D21” initiative, the Federal Ministry of Justice and German consumer associations.
To use the German trustmark, a distance trader must be a member of bvh and must have been approved by bvh's control board and by EHI. Once a company has been authorised to use the trustmark, this certifies that it complies with industry standards for quality and all relevant legal provisions.
The German trustmark is backed by an arbitration procedure. Consumers are able to place complaints that will be dealt with, free of charge.
Switzerland - VSV
Distance selling traders that are members of the Swiss Distance Selling Association (VSV) abide to the association’s Code of Honour.
Hence, usage of the Swiss distance selling trustmark is linked to the respect of a self-regulating code of conduct/code of honour.
In addition to following Swiss law, the VSV Code of Honour includes guidelines that VSV members should follow with respect to customer relations.
The code of conduct obliges members of the Swiss Distance Selling Association (VSV) to comply with a series of requirements, such as:
providing realistic, clear and accurate description of goods and services on offer;
providing clear information on delivery conditions, packaging, postage;
strictly abiding to Swiss law concerning payment conditions;
respect of privacy in data processing
The logo of the Hungarian distance selling association serves as a guarantee to consumers that the trader observes consumer legislation. The logo may only be used by members of the Hungarian distance selling association who through membership abide by the association's code of ethics.
Traders using the logo promise to deliver ordered goods to consumers and inform consumers clearly of their sales conditions regarding delivery time, methods of delivery and methods of payment. All offers must grant consumers the right to return the order and obtain a refund if they are not satisfied. An after sales service must be guaranteed along with the ability for the consumer to contact a customer service at all times.
Members of the Hungarian distance selling association must also abide by national data protection legislation.
In the event of a dispute between the consumer and the trade, the Hungarian distance selling association may act as a mediator.
United Kingdom - IMRG
Internet Shopping Is Safe trustmark
In the UK, consumers can shop online with confidence wherever they see the ISIS (Internet Shopping Is Safe) logo because it certifies that the retailer:
• has registered with the ISIS programme and undertaken to trade in a manner that is LEGAL, DECENT, HONEST, TRUTHFUL AND FAIR;
• had its web site and service reviewed and monitored by IMRG;
• had its Business, VAT and Data Protection registrations checked by IMRG.
One of the main reasons that consumers cite as the reason for not shopping online, is a lack of awareness of the retailer. The ISIS trustmark has built up a great reputation in the UK over many years and as a result, ISIS-accredited merchants comply with ISIS-standards and benefit from the reputation for reliability, security and trustworthiness engendered by the ISIS Mark.
In addition, should a customer have problems with an ISIS accredited retailer, the ISIS team offer an 'arbitration' service.
Today there are over 1200 ISIS-Accredited retailers that account for approximately two thirds of all UK online shopping.
Spain - adigital
Spain’s Confianza Online trustmark was launched in 2003.
It stems from a joint initiative from the Spanish Commercial Communications Self Regulatory Body and the Spanish e-Commerce Association. It is based on an industry Ethical Code of Advertising on the Internet, and Internet Data Protection Code.
The Confianza Online trustmark abides by Spanish law 34/2002 (LSSI) and EU Directive 2000/31/EC.
Today more than 500 web sites in Spain use the Confianza Online trustmark which in 2005 was approved by the Spanish Institute of Consumer Affairs.
Confianza Online provides consumers with a quick, inexpensive and effective out-of-court tool for settling disputes related to interactive advertising, E-commerce, data privacy, minor protection and accessibility & usability with consumers
Complaints are handled through the Secretaría Técnica of Confianza Online. Only companies that adhered to CONFIANZA ONLINE are allowed publish the label on their web site, after a legal & ethical audit. http://www.confianzaonline.es/.
Sweden - Svensk Distanshandel
Trygg E-handel trustmark
The Svensk Distanshandel's "safe e-commerce" trustmark, "Trygg E-handel" was introduced in 2007 in a coalition between private and public organisations.
The role of the trustmark is to support clear, simple and unified guidelines for both consumers and e-commerce companies.
The trustmark covers issues such as:
The responsible administrator carries out random check-ups. Members of the trustmark are also given a financial rating. An external party audits members' homepages.