The Commission set up a stakeholder platform to discuss the issues surrounding online trustmarks in 2012 and to pilot a study on trustmarks. The final product of this platform was the study "EU online Trustmarks – Building Digital Confidence in Europe", published by the Commission in 2013. Follow-up actions are under consideration and a discussion on trustmarks was addressed at the Consumer Summit in June 2014.
What is the problem? Online trustmarks have good, but limited impact
In some countries, there are trustmarks and trustmark providers that inform consumers whether the website complies with a certain set of rules. The trustmarks can be certified according to a national certification scheme and supervised by the competent authority, or based on mutual agreements.
The aim of trustmarks is to guarantee the quality and security of the online transaction. Trustmarks can boost consumer confidence in cyberspace. However, trustmark schemes are often unknown to consumers. As a result, EU citizens can find it difficult to identify reputable e-merchants in other EU markets and are therefore reluctant to shop online from another country.
Why is EU action needed? To develop EU trustmarks to enhance EU-wide consumers' trust
The Commission is exploring the usefulness and benefits of the EU-wide trustmark schemes to reassure consumers on the reliability of accredited traders.
The aim is to encourage the establishment of pan-EU price-comparison websites. Such certified sites will help consumers to make informed decisions when using online retail services.
What has the Commission done so far and what are the next steps?
- The Commission set up a stakeholder platform and conducted a comparative study on trustmark schemes in EU Member States as well as discussed the issue at the Digital Agenda Assembly 2012.
- The Commission will further elaborate different policy options for EU-wide trustmark schemes and the effectiveness of cooperation platforms in the governance of such trustmark systems.