Brussels, 30 July 2002
A report by the European Commission's Enterprise DG has found that problems of trustworthiness may still be discouraging businesses from participating in e-marketplaces - forums where goods and services are bought and sold online.
Given the increased transparency of prices, partly due to the Euro, the Commission believes that e-marketplaces can boost the internal market by providing wider choice and ease of ordering across borders. The DG Enterprise report is based on a survey of different actors in the e-marketplace. Broadly speaking, two views emerged in the course of this consultation process.
Associations/chambers of commerce, companies and trust operators were concerned about security and confidentiality of sensitive data. A majority of those questioned were also concerned about a lack of clear information on the terms and conditions of the contract as well as transaction procedures and uncertainties related to the settlement of disputes.
However, e-marketplace operators insisted that a lot of information relating to those precise issues was available on their websites. Thus the Commission concludes that there is a 'trust gap' between the two groups, given their differing views on the effectiveness of the measures taken to address trust issues in e-marketplaces.
Only 35.7 per cent of e-marketplace respondents replied that they have developed or subscribed to a code of conduct. However, virtually all of them view such codes as a useful tool to enhance trust and confidence in e-marketplaces. E-marketplace respondents also agreed with the Commission's plan to establish European wide guidelines for codes of conduct.
All groups questioned in the survey (over 90 per cent in each category) agreed with the Commission's proposal to establish a 'group of stakeholders' to discuss guidelines for codes of conduct in e-marketplaces.
To see the full report, please consult the following web address: http://europa.eu.int/comm/enterprise/ic t/policy/b2b-consultation/b2b-trust-con s-sum.pdf