The study indicates that even though the Web is no longer a novelty, many e-commerce sites aimed at consumers still lack basic protections for their personal data.
Sites are required by data protection law to give users the opportunity to opt out of direct marketing schemes, but 58 percent of sites in Britain did not state this, the study found. Germany was the worst offender in this category, however, with 81.7 percent lacking an opt-out mechanism.
Despite the unpopularity of junk emails, few sites had policies against spamming -- 10.5 percent across Europe, and just 6.7 percent in the UK.
Surprising numbers of sites even lacked basic consumer information such as whether VAT is included in the sale price: in the UK, more than half did not indicate whether VAT was included. Thirty percent of sites across Europe did not give information on delivery costs.
Nearly 60 percent of sites across Europe did not provide information on the consumer's right to cancel an order for any reason within seven working days, despite a legal requirement to do so. In the UK, one-quarter of sites did not provide this information.