Yesterday saw the long awaited launch of TrustUK, the government backed guarantee scheme designed to enhance consumer confidence in purchasing from UK-based internet sites.

The scheme, which is also supported by the Alliance for Electronic Business, the Consumer's Association and the Direct Marketing Association, imposes tough standards on web traders who display its hallmark. Those meeting the criteria are entitled to display the TrustUK logo on their home page, which also hotlinks to another page giving information about the status and standards of the site-owner

The scheme is actively encouraging other trade bodies to enrol their members in TrustUK and ensure they maintain the high standards of service required.

Says Sheila McKechnie, director of the Consumer's Association, which currently runs a similar scheme of its own: "We believe that Trust UK will prove to be invaluable as it will be a clear signal to people that it will be safe to shop on the web."

Meantime, the European Commission is watching the development of the scheme with a view to setting up a pan-European version.

News source: BBC Online Business News (UK)