Consumer trust

How do you know who you can trust?

The internet has changed the way that consumers interact with businesses. There are numerous trust schemes, which offer ratings, reviews and 'approval' for products and services. These influence levels of trust and the way we make choices.

In 2013, the NCF investigated this issue by conducting a study of 12 online trust schemes. Our research examined what constituted a 'good' trust system from the consumer perspective. Our findings were published in a report 'Trust Schemes for Consumers', which analysed the practices being used by trust schemes, and the impact these might have on consumers. 

We identified five key elements needed to support and maintain consumer trust in a 'good' trust scheme:

  1. Creation and maintenance of a detailed code of practice for the operator of the scheme and those participating

  2. Monitoring and assessment against the code

  3. Complaints handling and escalation process available to consumers using the scheme

  4. Consumer feedback and choice systems

  5. Regular assessment of the trust scheme against the four preceding elements on behalf of consumers by the consumer movement