Convincing and perceptible legal compliance is a decisive reason for the choice of a service or the online purchase of a product for most users of websites and web shops.
The EU carries out regular studies of the user and consumer behaviour on the Internet. In the region of (cross-border) online trade, inadequate product or service description, lack of user-friendliness and, above all, legal uncertainty, such as the (cross-border) enforcement of consumer rights, are mentioned.
Project Tasks and Aims
Mystery Surfer® has, basically, three ranges of duty covering OPE- and SME-relevant issues, such as customer satisfaction, customer orientation, legal compliance and related organizational and ICT measures for electronic commerce:
- commissioned and own data collection;
- structuring of task-oriented databases and
- know-how transfer (e.g. for EU-funded Projects).
To produce an evidence of the current situation of Austrian OPE and SME web sites resp. web shops, Mystery Surfer®, since 2005, regularly collects empirical data regarding the level of legal compliance in electronic commerce through a strictly objective evaluation of the following criteria of the suppliers' websites or web shops:
- completeness of legal notices;
- compliance with the Data Protection Regulations and
- compliance with the Consumer Rights Directive.
The collection of data is carried out through the 'Website- & Webshop-Check', subsidised for OPE and SME by the Austrian Chamber of Economy and the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy.
Hence, in accordance with the periodical studies and in cooperation with the Austrian institutions of economic promotion, appropriate measures for awareness raising as well as different subsidised counselling programs for OPE and SME are developed.