BBB, TrustUK and WebTraderUK Create a New Safety Nett

Thursday 21 April 2005 10:12 CET | News

The Council of Better Business Bureaus, TrustUK and WebTraderUK have entered into a joint dispute resolution agreement that is expected to increase the safety of cross-border online consumer commerce between the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

The three organizations have launched a cooperative complaint-handling project that provides an easy-to-use online method for resolving disputes between merchants and consumers in any of the three countries. This is the first transatlantic agreement to provide such a benefit for consumers and businesses engaging in cross border commerce between the three countries. The BBB system has a similar dispute resolution agreement in place with the Next Generation Electronic Commerce Promotion Council of Japan (ECOM) which handles e-commerce disputes involving United States and Japanese consumers and businesses. These cross border dispute resolution arrangements are part of a larger effort to promote global cooperation among online trustmark programs, known as the Global Trustmark Alliance, which has received financial support from the US Department of Commerces (DOC) Market Development Cooperator Program. The DOC award to BBBOnLine is intended to promote the growth of e-exports by providing consumers enhanced trust and confidence in the electronic marketplace. Under the agreement announced today, Better Business Bureaus (BBBs) will handle any complaints regarding marketplace transactions or advertising that may arise, either online or offline, between a consumer in the United Kingdom and a merchant, located in the United States or Canada. WebTraderUK will handle complaints from U.S. or Canadian shoppers who report problems regarding commercial transactions with merchants based in the U.K. The dispute resolution process will be voluntary and non-binding for consumers who choose to submit their complaint. Retailers that are members of the BBBOnLine program and merchants that belong to a TrustUK member organization have committed to participate in a dispute resolution process as a condition of their continued display of the online trustmark. Complaints against merchants that are not affiliated with either organization will also be accepted and the respective organization will encourage the voluntary cooperation and compliance of the business in addressing the complaint. BBBs have offered dispute resolution services for decades and currently process more than 985,000 complaints each year; approximately 62 percent are filed online. If a business fails to respond to a customer complaint filed with the BBB, that fact is noted in the BBBs report on that company to advise other consumers who are thinking of doing business with that merchant. The organizations have created a special, co-branded Web site at to assist consumers filing an online complaint and to also help them identify merchants in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. that adhere to specific business practices overseen through BBBOnLine or TrustUK. One of the best ways for shoppers to avoid problem transactions is to purchase from reputable merchants. Thats easier said than done when engaging in cross-border electronic commerce. The Better Business Bureau, TrustUK and WebTraderUK are providing a means for consumers to identify merchants in other countries that have committed to a meaningful code of business practices, including dispute resolution procedures, said Doug Simpson, president of the Canadian Council of Better Business Bureaus. Merchants that have committed to a Code and dispute resolution procedures supported by either BBBOnLine or a TrustUK certified member can display the organizations trustmark or label on their Web site. Currently, more than 20,000 merchant Web sites in the U.S. and Canada have qualified to display the BBBOnLine Reliability seal; another 4,500 merchants are certified to display a label issued by one of TrustUKs members. Various government entities have expressed their support for providing businesses and consumers with tools to boost the safety of cross-border e- commerce.

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Categories: Payments & Commerce | Payments General
Countries: World
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