DMA UK Forges Trustmark Program

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Citing its commitment to developing e-commerce and protecting consumers from unfair practices, the Direct Marketing Association (UK) said Friday that it established a Web site trustmark program called WebTraderUK.


The program is accredited by TrustUK, the United Kingdom's e-commerce standards agency. It will be administered with the help of the Secretariat of the National Newspapers' Mail Order Protection Scheme.


The core of the program is the WebTraderUK Code of Practice, with which online traders must comply. The code will be amended as legislation is introduced or best practices are developed by industry, the DMA UK said. Compliance is monitored by mystery shopping exercises, random interrogation of subscribers' Web sites, complaint monitoring and customer feedback mechanisms.


"WebTraderUK aims to increase consumer confidence in online shopping by showing that those registered with the scheme adhere to a rigorous code of practice," said Robert Dirskovski, head of interactive media at the DMA UK. "One of its most important provisions is an independent consumer complaints handling and redress mechanism to deal with any problems that may arise."


Dirskovski said WebTraderUK also helps companies by providing a nationally recognized brand. This particularly aids small and midsized businesses, which often have little background in consumer legislative issues.


"Strict compliance with the WebTraderUK code ensures they meet all their legal obligations, and in several important instances exceed them, in order to raise consumer trust and confidence," he said. "Displaying the WebTraderUK logo tells prospective buyers they can shop with confidence."


The Direct Marketing Authority will monitor compliance with the code and hear consumer complaints. All DMA members are eligible to become WebTraderUK subscribers through their current compliance with the Direct Marketing Code of Practice, which was accredited by TrustUK in June 2000.


To find out how to become a member of WebTraderUK, visit www.webtraderUK.org.uk.


Melissa Campanelli covers postal news, CRM and database marketing for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters


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