Tips & Support

Trust seals and trustmarks - which ones are real and which are fake

There are hundreds if not thousands of online trust marks being offered online. They differ in quality, the industry and the region they cover. Some trust marks are nothing more than the logo. There is nothing behind it. Others enroll the company in a process of weeks or months where their company background is checked thoroughly and their website scrutinized for legal compliance.

Likewise, some trust seals only apply to certain industry like travel, financial advise or online stores.

Finally, most trust marks only cover specific countries. A few trust marks cover a larger region like the European Union but few if any trust seals really over a global reach. Hereby a few tips on how to separate the good, from the bad and the ugly. 

How to check the quality of a Trust Mark?

  1. Click on it! The first thing to do is to click on the logo of the trust seal. Does it go to a different site? If it goes to a page on the same site it does not tell you anything as the website owner remains in full control of the information provided. It if goes to another site you can take the next step.
  2. Is the company/website listed on the site of the trust seal? A professional trust links to the so-called certificate page about the website you are researching. Here the full name of the company, its contact details and websites should be listed. If not, the trust seal site should offer a way to check if the web site is actually a member/customer. If you cannot find the website listed on the site of the trust seal, it is probably misusing their logo. A final check could be to contact the trust seal and ask if the website is certified by them. 
  3. What does the trust mark stand for? This is an important step. Some trust seals hardly offer any real protection to consumers. many SSL providers offer a logo that communicates reliability. But the only value they actually deliver is that the communication between your computer and the server of the web site you are researching is encrypted. Other trust seals verify the financial, cybersecurity or legal compliance of the website. Be sure to check which checks the trust mark does before allowing the website to show its logo. 
  4. Which help can you expect? Finally, check the small print. Does the trust seal offer a dispute resolution or mediation platform? Does it support consumers from your country? What happens if the merchant has to pay you back?  Most trust seals only verify, they do not offer consumer guarantees. The biggest punishment they can give is revoking the membership of the website. We only know of one trust seal which actually offers a money-back guarantee (Trusted Shops which is mainly active in German-speaking countries). 

Below a list of trust seals for online stores and a (subjective) indication of their strength. If you miss one, please let us know!

Name Country Strength
Beter Busines Bureau Canada, USA, Mexico *
Confianza Online Spain **
Evalor Spain * Denmark, Norway, Sweden **
EHI Geprufter Online Shop Germany ***
Internet Siegel Germany *
IT Recht Kanzlei Germany *
Kaufer siegel Germany *
Megbizhato Hungary **
Consorzio Netcomm Italy ***
Online Shop Siegel Germany *
Osterreichisher E-commerce Gutezeichen Austria **
QShops Netherlands *
Thuiswinkel Netherlands ***
TrustArc United States ***
Trusted Shops Austria, Germany ***
Trusted.RO Romania ***
VSV Versandhandel Switzerland ***
Trygg E-Handel Norway **
Webwinkelkeur Netherlands **
Webshop GuteSiegel Germany *
xCert internet gutesiegel Germany *
Zertifizierter Schweizer Online Shop Switzerland *



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