|Author (Person)||Chapman, Peter|
|Series Title||European Voice|
|Series Details||Vol.7, No.39, 25.10.01, p37|
BUSINESS and consumer groups have struck a deal to meet concerns over the plethora of Internet 'trustmarks' aimed at boosting consumer confidence in buying goods online.
Consumers lobby BEUC and business counterparts UNICE will call for third-party bodies such as auditing firms to check whether trustmarks guarantee a genuine service - or are simply a sales device. Auditors could check, for instance, whether trustmark schemes do respond to complaints and ensure goods are actually delivered.
The two bodies also want a special committee to oversee the third parties and to solve disputes.
Jim Murray, director of BEUC, said his organisation and UNICE had tried to reach agreement on a workable system for trustmarks. "The problem is there are lots of them and consumers don't know which ones to trust and which ones not to."
He said the groups had not allowed disagreement on three key points to allow the deal to collapse. BEUC wanted the scheme only to cover websites where goods were actually put up for sale by businesses; UNICE wanted it broadened to include the sale of services, and advertising and marketing activities. Businesses opposed a call by BEUC to ensure companies offer consumers an order confirmation within two days and do not cash cheques unless a consumer has "expressly agreed".
European consumer chief David Byrne and fellow commissioners must now decide whether to formally back the BEUC/UNICE scheme. The groups' effort followed earlier talks kick-started by the former Irish attorney-general last year.
Byrne said he wanted to canvas industry and consumer views for a recommendation on trustmarks scheduled for late 2001. These talks foundered amid claims that the groups invited did not have broad enough support.
Erik Jonnaert, a director of US consumer products giant Proctor and Gamble, who led negotiations on behalf of business, said an initial meeting with Byrne's team last week was positive, although he admitted officials reserved judgement on the deal.
He said EU cash was "crucial" if the committee system and a small secretariat of "one or two people" were to be funded.
Business and consumer groups have struck a deal to meet concerns over the plethora of Internet 'trustmarks' aimed at boosting consumer confidence in buying goods online.
|Subject Categories||Business and Industry|