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European Consumer Day a black one for ecommerce

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Lack of trust is stifling the growth of ecommerce across Europe as punters remain reluctant to shop online.

Only 16 per cent of people in the EU currently flash their cash online at the moment, while one in four people who don't use ecommerce say they just don't trust it.

One way to improve trust in e-shopping could be through Web traders being accredited and awarded with a recognisable trustmark that would help improve confidence.

The idea is just one of the initiatives being discussed today in Dublin as part of European Consumer Day.

The conference, backed by research into consumers' attitudes to online shopping, is looking at ways to boost consumer confidence in ecommerce.

Speaking in Dublin today David Byrne, the European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection, said: "Developing a thriving ecommerce sector is vital for the competitiveness of Europe's economy. We cannot do this unless European consumers are prepared to shop on-line.

"Consumer confidence has to be addressed. This poll shows that trustmarks, or independent verification of a site as trustworthy, may have an important role to play in supporting consumer protection legislation and increasing confidence in online shopping. I intend to present a policy document on online consumer confidence later this year which will help focus the work in front of us".

Still, it's not just trust that's proving to be an obstacle: six in ten don't shop online because they don't have access to the Net while half said they preferred to visit shops.

There were also concerns about safeguards in place to protect consumer rights. Research form the European Consumer Centre Network found that two in ten EU citizens reckon they are protected if shopping from Web traders based in their own country. Just one in ten believes they have a high level of protection when shopping from sites based in another EU country.

Consumer tests carried out researchers revealed that one in three goods never arrived while a third of goods returned during the cooling-off period were not reimbursed. ®

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