September 24, 2010, 2:30 PM

The European Union acts to encourage cross-border shopping

Online retailers would display a new trust mark on their web sites.

Lead Photo

In an effort to persuade consumers in the European Union to shop online with retailers outside consumers’ home countries, the E.U. Parliament this week gave its backing to a trust mark that e-retailers could place on their e-commerce sites to show they meet reliability standards.

“The Internet is the fastest-growing channel for retail sales, yet only one in three consumers would consider shopping online from another E.U.-country,” the European Parliament says in a statement on its web site.

Bureaucrats and merchant groups still need to hash out the requirements retailers must follow to obtain the mark. But the parliament wants to base those requirements on E.U. law and follow the example of trust mark labels used in its 27 member states.

Along with the mark, the parliament also has called for e-retailers to stop rejecting sales from foreign E.U. shoppers and to make online shopping more transparent. That could include, for example, requiring merchants to provide their addresses and phone numbers to shoppers. Other suggestions include strengthening consumer privacy and stressing to merchants the importance of secure online payment systems. The parliament also called for a European-wide fraud detection system.

The statement represents the parliament's response to the European Commission's March 2010 report on the barriers to cross-border online shopping in the E.U. 

The commission will issue an official Code of E.U. Online Rights by 2012, the parliament statement says.

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