December 1999


Yet another competitor has entered the arena of online assurance services. Led by a CPA, Travis Morgan, and backed by Lloyd's of London, WebAssured relies upon a seal of approval to identify a site's membership in the program.

Merchants that participate in the program must agree to abide by a standard of ethics relating to business and disclosure practices. Feedback from consumers (even regarding nonmembers) is fed into an archive that can be accessed by users. Complaints about WebAssured participants are subject to a dispute resolution process; unresolved incidents are entered into the database and can lead to revocation of a merchant's membership.

Part of WebAssured's service is purchase price protection backed by Lloyd's of London. Participants that have a clean track record for at least six months are granted purchase protection for at least $200. In the event that a complaint is brought and dispute resolution is unsuccessful, customers will be refunded directly by WebAssured. Membership is subject to renewal; benefits, including the purchase protection, are subject to revocation under certain circumstances.

Unlike WebTrust, no CPA (or any other professional) performs a detailed examination of a member's business practices. Like Trust-e, WebAssured relies upon feedback from consumers and self-policing rather than legal intervention. The site's stated aim is to provide an educated consumer with the benefit of tools to protect herself from unscrupulous businesses.

WebAssured has approximately 1,800 participants. Morgan, the company's president and CFO, reports that 100% of complaints against members have been successfully resolved and that the process takes, on average, about a week. For more information, see . *

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