Posts Tagged ‘online shopping’

A Digital Hallmark For Online Jewellery Shoppers

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

Edinburgh Assay Office will launch the world’s first consumer online assurance scheme for jewellery – Assay Assured – today at Somerset House in London. Retailers already signed up to Assay Assured include:  Links of London, Ortak, Monica Vinader and Clogau Gold.  The hallmark is the oldest form of consumer protection and this announcement marks a significant moment in its history as the hallmark goes digital.

Over the last five years the online sale of fake jewellery has seen a sharp rise with scam sites and rogue traders on auction sites springing up faster than they can be closed down.  As shoppers cannot inspect the goods they buy online Assay Assured aims to offer the consumer protection against the risk of buying unhallmarked as well as counterfeit branded jewellery.

While more and more people shop online, trust is still one of the biggest barriers to trade. Research by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has shown that shoppers are far more likely to shop from sites they know and trust rather than small independent sites or auction sites. It was the same lack of trust that first led to the introduction of hallmarking 700 years ago as a way to prove the precious metal content of an item.

Scott Walter, CEO of Edinburgh Assay Office explains:  “It is not possible to detect by sight or by touch the precious metal content of an item. UK Hallmarks have provided consumer protection for hundreds of years by guaranteeing the precious metal content in a piece of jewellery.  Today online shoppers have no way of checking whether a piece of jewellery is hallmarked or not.  Assay Assured is a digital solution to an ancient problem and we believe it will provide the protection consumers need online.”

It is a legal requirement that all gold, silver, platinum and palladium jewellery sold in the UK must be hallmarked by one of four independent Assay Offices in Edinburgh, London, Sheffield and Birmingham. Precious metals are rarely used in their purest form but are alloyed with lesser metals to achieve the desired strength, durability and colour. Edinburgh Assay Office has been testing and hallmarking for 550 years.  Today it is the fastest growing Assay Office in Europe, working with some of the world’s premier jewellery brands.

Trustmarks are a well established solution to the issue of consumer trust online with research showing that consumers are more likely to buy from a site with a trust mark as Andy Mulcahy, of the Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG) explains:

“Trust remains one of the key elements that determine whether a consumer will shop with an online retailer. The Assay Assured scheme will greatly improve confidence in jewellery sites by communicating to consumers that the retailer is compliant with a code of conduct that ensures the products advertised meet industry standards. Increasing trust in retail sites is particularly important at the moment as cross-border trade is really opening up, and making a purchase from a site based in another country is highly dependent on reassurance that the retailer is genuine and compliant with standards.”

The Assay Assured scheme will be underpinned by a strict code of conduct for online jewellery sales, in compliance with the Hallmarking Act and also covering the sale of counterfeit branded jewellery. Before accrediting a site Assay Assured will first carry out an audit of the online retailer and their website. Only if they meet the requirements they will be asked to sign up to Assay Assured jewellery retailer’s agreement.

The agreement will authorise the retailer to carry the Assay Assured jewellery retailer logo on their website. The logo will link directly to a unique secure certificate, which will confirm their authenticity as an Assay Assured retailer. Within the certificate the consumer will be able to link to a consumer focused landing page giving details about the scheme and UK hallmarking.

Although consumers will, in the first instance be encouraged to report any queries relating to the code of conduct to the retailer, the certificate and the landing page will also allow consumers to report a query to Assay Assured about a product, should they fail to resolve their query with the retailer.

Assay Assurance will provide an independent arbitration service for retailers and consumers if a product is suspected of being in breach of the code, if the dispute cannot first be resolved between the retailer and the consumer.

To find out more about Assay Assured visit: www.assayassured.co.uk

For more information contact Sarah Lee.

miiCard launches safe online shopping campaign

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

miiCard is urging UK shoppers to stay safe this Christmas and prevent online fraud by protecting their online identity. As more and more of us avoid the Christmas crowds by shopping online, so cyber crime levels continue to spike around the season with one in every hundred people affected by fraud and almost £70 million of ecommerce fraud predicted for Christmas 2011 (Source: IMRG).

Christmas is a key target for fraudsters, and shoppers are more than three times likely to experience fraud during the holiday period than any other time of year. James Varga, miiCard’s CEO explains: “Fraud is changing – as we start to reduce security and transactional fraud we are now seeing huge increases in fraud relating to identity theft, impersonation and false documentation. And almost 72% of fraud this Christmas will relate to identity related issues (Source: CIFAS).

Digital passport service miiCard believe it is imperative that UK consumers are aware of the risks and take measures to protect themselves. The company has published a guide identifying the ten tips for safe and secure online shopping which it will publish across the internet and tweet daily in the run up to Christmas. These tips aim to educate the consumer, and will include advice such as: only buy from well known websites, read customer reviews and be careful with the information you share.

As the number of online shoppers grow so we are seeing a corresponding increase in the incidence of internet fraud explains James Varga, founder of miiCard: “Shopping online is fast and convenient and for many of us is a far more attractive option than battling through the crowds on the high street. But, with the increased risk of fraud over the festive period, we are advising consumers to take control and actively protect their digital identity.”

Today in the UK there is no way of proving online ‘I am who I say I am’ in real time. And it is that loophole that fraudsters are leveraging to wage war on the internet shopper: the impact of e-commerce fraud on the UK economy is expected to rise by 18% from £165 million in 2011 to £195 million in 2015 (Source: PayPoint.net).

Varga continues: “We’re encouraging consumers to sign up for a miiCard digital passport and join our fast growing user group who want to create a system of trust online.” Varga wants to encourage banks and retailers to adopt an independent proof of identity that meets anti-money laundering standards. Currently there is no way to prove your identity online to the same level of authority of a passport or driver’s licence.

miiCard is a digital passport (or virtual driver’s licence) that allows consumers to prove they are who they say they are online in real time, validated to anti-money laundering standards. Owned and managed by the individual, miiCard allows the consumer to track, monitor and so take control of their online identity. It creates trust between parties when conducting business, fights fraud and protects consumers without the need for physical identity validation.

Ten Tips for Safe Online Shopping this Holiday Season

1. Buy from well-known websites

Use credible sites like Amazon and eBay that have seller feedback, product reviews and buyer protection procedures in place.

2. Read the reviews

Take the time to read buyer feedback and reviews. Make sure the product is exactly what you want and the seller has a reliable and trusted selling history.

3. Research the business

If you are looking for that extra special something on a smaller, lesser known website, a quick Internet background search should provide you with peace of mind. Check for blog, forum and social media posts by and about the business. Ask your friends if they’ve bought from them before and what their experience was like.

4. Don’t be fooled

If an offer looks too good to be true it probably is. Research the items you’re looking to buy on a few different sites to get an idea of the true value of the goods.

5. Contact the seller

If you have any doubts about a suspicious seller or fake website, contact them to try and verify their details. Poor spelling and grammar in emails from a business can be a warning sign the business is not legitimate.

6. Do a little detective work

Add the words “fraud” and “scam” to the business or product. If someone has been scammed it’s very likely the victims will be making lots of noise in forums and posts online.

7. Read the small print

Read and understand privacy and returns policies. Print a copy of your order and check your bank statement carefully against anything you buy online. Alert your financial provider immediately if you notice anything suspicious.

8. Safety first

Only buy from secure sites that use security encryption in the URL “https://”. Log out accounts after completing a purchase and guard your passwords closely.

9. Don’t give too much away

Be careful with the information you share online. During the buying process all that should be required is: name, email, address, telephone number, payment information and shipping arrangements. Use a landline telephone number and a business address for delivery if possible. Never give out passport, driving licence or social security numbers to anyone online.

10. Payment protection

Using your regular bank account can make you vulnerable so pay by credit card for an added layer of fraud protection.

For more information contact: Sarah Lee


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