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Which? Webtrader Logo
Which? Webtrader Code of practice

This scheme officially ended on 31st January 2002, but we continue to supply our goods in accordance with the terms on which we were successfully accredited.

You can read a copy of the press release that they issued when this news was announced below.

06 - 01 - 2003 Consumers' Association to close UK code of practice scheme for online traders

Consumers' Association today announced that the Which? Web Trader (W?WT) scheme, a voluntary, consumer-focused code of practice for online traders in the UK, is to close at the end of the month.

Which? Web Trader was launched in July 1999 to promote consumer confidence in online shopping by providing an independent code of practice with teeth. Since it started W?WT has improved the practices of many traders and has resolved over 2,000 customer complaints quickly and free of charge.

Paul Kitchen, head of online at Consumers' Association, said:

"Since W?WT launched three and half years ago, it has received over 8000 applications from e-traders, of which 2,700 were accepted, and has successfully resolved over 2000 disputes on behalf of consumers. The scheme has succeeded in increasing consumer confidence and has promoted higher standards in e-commerce. As well as providing a great service to consumers, W?WT has delivered a boost for business."

"But providing such an effective and well monitored code costs a significant amount of money each year - W?WT has always been free to traders to protect the independence of Which? - and as a charity and campaigning organisation we need to use our resources in the most efficient way possible. There is still a need to increase consumers' confidence about shopping online and we think it is now up to business and government to set up an alternative scheme to build on the successful work of W?WT."

Consumers' Association will continue to campaign on behalf of consumers in e-commerce. It has contributed to the E-confidence project developed by DG Sanco and taken part in the negotiations between Bureau European des Unions de Consommateurs (BEUC) and Unice in developing standards for Europe wide trust marks. It is also contributing to ongoing discussions between Consumers International and the Global Business Dialogue in developing guidelines for online dispute resolution. Consumers' Association fully supports the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Guidelines for E-commerce.

Which? Web Trader will close on 31 January 2003, when logos will be withdrawn from traders' sites.
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