New trusted web site scheme launches

New trusted web site scheme launches

EC's Howard tool could prevent consumer e-commerce losses

In preparation for yet more growth in seasonal online sales the UK's European consumer centre in partnership with the Trading Standards Institute have launched the Howard web tool, an online service that can guarantee the validity of sites.

The tool, which was developed by the European Commission is launched on December 3, and will let users check information about sites, including when and where they are registered, what accredidation it has, and if it has been commented on on consumer forums.

James Roper, chief executive of e-commerce industry body the Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG) welcomed the new tool, saying that it would be a good means of cementing consumer confidence in the internet.

"The ultimate aim is that you'll be able to look up the details for every [e-retailer] in Europe, including company registration and when they started trading," he explained. "It will make it harder and harder for the cowboys to gain any traction."

The tool will also ensure that retailers are meeting the requirements metered out to them by legislation such as the distance selling regulations.
The tool will be available from Monday, at