01 February 2000

A NEW E-GUARANTEE for transactional websites, TrustUK, has been unveiled by the DMA on behalf of the Alliance for Electronic Business, representing the Confederation of British Industry, the Computing Services & Software Association, the DMA, e-Centre UK and the Federation of the Electronics Industry. Consumer’s Association is also represented on TrustUK’s board.

The initiative was launched on 26 January by e-commerce minister Patricia Hewitt, although it will not be promoted to consumers until March. The guarantee operates along similar lines to the national newspapers’ Mail Order Protection Scheme, although it lacks the all-important insurance cover offered by MOPS.

Proselytised the DMA’s Colin Lloyd: 'TrustUK will be the kitemark of all kitemarks. We are acting to form a co-ordinated registration scheme where the government and industry is working together to provide an environment in which the consumer has complete confidence. The DMA has plans to launch its own kitemark at a later stage to complement TrustUK.'

A rival offering, Trust Online is promised soon by NetCommerce, a private internet consultancy. This is backed by a scheme offering consumers insurance cover when buying from an approved site – something likely to offer shoppers far greater reassurance. Managing direct Dermot Hill is dismissive of the TrustUK scheme, arguing that trade bodies like the DMA do not have sufficient financial clout to run such schemes effectively. These are, Hill argues, better left to the private sector. The DMA begs to differ - in spades