The government outlined its plans for a digital hallmark to protect consumer rights online in a White Paper released last week.
The e-hallmark will be displayed by sites that pass certain tests set by the government on privacy, security and product quality.
"If (a company) agrees to meet certain standards in complying with our consumer law on guarantees of quality of product, delivery and so on, we will give it our e-hallmark," Trade Secretary Stephen Byers told the House of Commons.
"We will develop an e-commerce code, with industry and consumer groups," he went on. "As purchasing over the Internet expands, it is vital that people feel that they have security when they make purchases. That is why we will introduce an e-hallmark, to provide safeguards for the purchaser."
However, Byers gave no indication of how the e-hallmark system would be protected from fraudulent use.
An independent body will have responsibility for judging whether a business qualifies to receive the hallmark.
The White Paper calls for "an approach where the Government sets the policy framework and business develops the market solutions." This policy framework would include measures to assure consumers that transactions are secure, goods will be delivered on time and will match their descriptions, and there is a means to seek redress for faulty goods or claim money back.
It would also tackle the issue of privacy, including the privacy of records concerning a user's activity online.
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