French e-tailers 'less trusted' than high street stores

French internet users do not trust online stores as much as those on the high street, according to the latest research from Raffour Interactif.

French internet users do not trust online stores as much as those on the high street, according to the latest research from Raffour Interactif.

The report claims 72 per cent of French consumers were distrustful of ecommerce, and lays the blame at the door of the online retailers. A spokesman for Raffour Interactif said: "The lack of information on the sites breeds mistrust. There is no physical address or fax number and this is very important for users. They need to know who is behind the site." Figures show that two-thirds of users worry about the security of online transactions, while just under half believe their personal information will be sold to other companies. "Users doubt that internet companies are playing by the rules," said Raffour's spokesman. "Many do not display on their sites that they are in compliance with European laws and this does not promote confidence." A spokeswoman for French civil rights group CNIL agreed: "France can still do better. More companies need to register with CNIL to show publicly that they can be trusted and are adhering to European law." Marie-Laure Feral, spokeswoman for Cyber-Comm, an alliance of banks promoting payment via smartcard readers over the internet, said: "French people are right to worry about secure online payments. It is not safe to make payments using traditional SSL [secure socket layer], which is why we are promoting a smartcard reader. You attach it to the PC, put your card in, tap in your pin number and the transaction is completed - the same as in all French shops." Raffour's spokesman agreed these are potential solutions to the problem. However, he claimed that users are more likely to buy from traditional household names than previously unknown start-ups because they offer similar security and delivery guarantees to their regular stores.