It is already known: the client commands now more than ever. And this customer is becoming accustomed to surfing the Internet with the same requirements that they apply to their offline relationships. It is not enough for the company that wants to sell to offer good prices. If your website doesn’t inspire trust, the user will simply look for another one that does. In this context, seals of approval are presented on the web as a differentiating factor, a badge that guarantees that the web that adheres to them has rules and obligations in its transactions, processes, advertising…

a private check
The data speaks and as e-commerce matures so does interest in stamps. The latest B2C (Business to Consumer) study (October 2011) by the National Telecommunications and Information Society Observatory (Ontsi) shows that 48.7% of Internet users consider whether the website has a trust seal or code before making a purchase. It is logical that more and more companies are interested in standing out from the competition by wearing this seal of approval.

It should be noted that, in line with the European e-Commerce Directive, the administration has left it to the sector to regulate itself. In 2005, however, an ‘online public trust mark’ was created, with the National Consumer Institute recognizing those codes that provide a number of commitments and guarantees.

The advance. This award received the Confianza Online seal for the first time, an initiative of the associations Adigital (formerly Aecem) and Autocontrol. In fact, its code of conduct contained these commitments years before the creation of the public label. This early commitment to self-regulation has placed them as a reference in quality labels in Spain.

Confianza Online currently has a third partner, the public entity Red.es. In addition, it has an agreement with the National Consumer Institute that the consumer arbitration system acts as an out-of-court dispute resolution system when the affiliated websites face a lawsuit.
“One of the things that characterizes Brussels is precisely these extrajudicial systems. And in Spain there are only two of them: the consumer conciliation system and the Autocontrol advertising jury. Confianza Online is the only one that offers both systems in its procedures”, the technical director of this association, Marta Ayed, emphasizes the uniqueness of their offer. In addition, the Confianza Online code of ethics is endorsed by the Spanish Data Protection Agency.

Global Guarantees
Today on the market you can find other seals and systems that sometimes focus on certain aspects such as transaction security, private browsing guarantees, among others.

In the case of Confianza Online, in addition to the arbitration system, its distinguishing features are the recognition of public institutions and its code of ethics, which establishes commitments in the main areas of conflict (advertising and communication, e-commerce, data protection, child protection and accessibility).
All this leads Margarita Verdier, Director of Development and Marketing at Confianza Online, to state that “the company’s commitment to the seal of quality is very high and therefore the message to the consumer is also very strong”.

This is an advantage for the sites that decide to join, although in any case the concession is not automatic (“the seal is not bought, it is earned”, stresses Marta Ayed).
Those wishing to wear the badge must meet a number of requirements and make certain commitments that will give them credibility with consumers, which can facilitate their number of sales and their success in the market.

Claims that bind you
One of the factors that constitutes the greatest value of a seal for the consumer is the certainty that the affiliated website submits to the out-of-court dispute resolution system in the event of damage. OCU spokesman Enrique García distinguishes between such seals, which companies use to “simply commit to complying with the law” without considering more sanctions than not being able to use the seal, and those that “do something else.” contribute.

Marked path. If the claim is against a company with the seal, Confianza Online will take steps to check whether the complaint is “substantiated” and will request the relevant information from the consumer. If this is the case, the claim is transferred to the company, which can first go to arbitration. If it is an electronic commerce transaction, it will be coordinated in the Adigital Disputes Committee, while the complaint relates to advertising (e.g. an incorrect price displayed on the web) it will be processed by the other private partner of Confianza Online: self-regulation of the advertisement.

Either settlement or arbitration. According to Ayed, “in 60% of the cases in this mediation, an agreement is reached” “to avoid litigation or client anger”, with negative publicity on forums and social networks.

Resolution. If no agreement is possible, the decision is forwarded to the above-mentioned out-of-court systems: the National Consumer Arbitration Board (for contractual issues) and the Autocontrol advertising jury (for commercial communication disputes). There “they will evaluate it and make a decision, in the case of Autocontrol, or an award, if it is the Arbitration Board, which has the quality of a court decision. And in case they come to an agreement with the consumer, the company has an obligation to comply,” says Ayed.

variety of postage stamps

In addition to Confianza Online, there are many other seals with their own characteristics and differentiated offers. Some of the most important are:

VeriSign. Verisign Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificates are now an international standard for secure payments and encrypted data transmission over the Internet. What its technology guarantees is the safety of the link to the website, the visit and the transaction. Symantec markets the VeriSign Trust Seal, and by April 2012, all Symantec Seals will automatically become Norton Secured Seals.

TRUST. The seal promoted by this organization certifies browsing privacy on the websites that display it.

In addition, in Spain, within the Autonomous Community, there are other associations that have been awarded the online public trust mark. Namely:

Optimal network. Label created by Anetcom, the Association for the Promotion of Electronic Commerce in the Autonomous Community of Valencia.

Aptice (Association for the promotion of information technologies and electronic commerce). It has its own seal for companies and institutions based in the Community of Aragon.

Steps and Procedures to Join

All companies and organizations that carry the Confianza Online seal have had to fulfill a number of steps and requirements. Namely:

Submission of the entry form (which can be filled in online on the association’s website) where data such as the name of the entity, company name, contact, CIF… You must also send your information from the commercial register or the documentation “that proves that you have the have the necessary authorizations to carry out your activity in any field,” comments Verdier.

High Membership “It must be signed by a person authorized to represent the company” (managing director…), so that your commitment to accept out-of-court dispute resolution procedures is binding.

In this phase, the company has to pay the annual membership fee. Membership is free for those who are members of Adigital or Autocontrol, and some corporations and associations may offer discounts.

– Technical Secretariat of Confianza Online submits your website to the “verification process”, a type of online audit, to check compliance with the code of ethics. “It’s about entering the web as if we were any other user and seeing the information offered: what facilities exist to access the legal notice or to reach the physical address and the CIF; when the privacy policy is respected, when there are hiring guarantees, among other things,” says Ayed.

Attorneys specializing in new technologies are examining this about 60 points from the five areas of the code and in two or three days they will produce a report.

In this suitability report the legal and/or ethical violations found are indicated (“we have never found a website where nothing should be touched, even if it is a sentence in the privacy policy”) and what requirements you cannot comply with.

The association will then leave your website for a while (about 15 days on average) to correct the points indicated. If you already do this, the content will be checked again. If everything is in order, the seal will be processed and sent.

In case an audited company does not want to make any changes to their website and decide not to continue, they would lose 40% of the fees paid (according to the technical director of Confianza Online, the percentage of those who give in does not reach 5%). Even if there is no response to the report or requests within two months, the process will be considered complete and the amount entered will be lost.

From the moment you have the badge, make your commitment to continue to act in accordance with the Code. To ensure compliance, Confianza Online conducts a new audit every year. In addition, random “surprise” reviews are conducted every month between websites from different industries belonging to the seal.

company management