Online trust marks under evaluation

In its report "Can I trust the trust mark?",  the ECC-Net gives consumers an overview over 54 online trust marks existing in the EU.


ECC report shows huge differences


The report points out which criteria websites need to fulfill in order to get certificated with a trust mark. The main points in the evaluation of a website are: good business practices, security and privacy. According to the report, the huge variety of criteria is a big problem in this area.


573 consumers from 19 European countries have participated in the online survey. The results show that consumers do have trust in trust marks, but know very little about the different criteria, integrity and reliability of them. 54 trust marks were evaluated in the report from a consumer’s perspective. Within one country as well as cross-border, huge differences became evident.


ECC sees need for action


Detailed charts in the report allow consumers to get a quick and easy overview. They show if a withdrawal of the trust mark is possible, how the certification process works, if the websites are controlled from time to time and so on.


The following areas could be improved:

  • Duty to install ADR/ODR-guidelines (Alternative Dispute Resolution / Online Dispute Resolution)
  • Provider of trust marks should give users the possibility to make claims if they have problems with a certificied trader.
  • Transparent rules for controlling
  • Multilingual information and service offers
  • Unity demanded

The ECC-Net suggests creating common guidelines for trust mark certificates. On this behalf, it would be necessary to develop a set of minimum standards on a European level. This would make it easier for consumers to get information about the concepts behind the trust marks.


The survey also showed that 82 per cent of the consumers read guest reviews before purchase. In the opinion of the ECC-Net it would be important to constantly evaluate and rate this tool in order to support consumers and beware it of misuse.

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