Canadian Firm Unveils Insurance For E-Shoppers

$ECURE-IT-e, a new service that promises to secure credit card transactions made over the Internet, added a new wrinkle to the e-holiday shopping season by launching its Web site earlier this week.

The Canadian company offers service for a base price of $4.99 (CA$) and pledges to handle all disputes with online merchants, banks and, if necessary, legal authorities to recover a customer’s money after a fraudulent online purchase.

How It Works

To register a transaction, online shoppers must first check the $ECURE-IT-e site’s list of disqualified vendors and credit card issuers, to make sure that their purchases qualify for coverage. Then the shoppers fill out an online registration form, providing the date of the transaction, the name of the item purchased, and the price and information about the credit card used to make the purchase.

By filling out the form, the buyer authorizes $SECURE-IT-e to charge the service fee to the card to cover a purchase of $500 (CA$). Shoppers can increase their payment by $4.99 (CA$) for each additional $500 (CA$) of coverage they need.

Registrations must be made before any fraudulent or unauthorized activity appears on the credit card and within two days of the initial transaction. The purchases are then covered for 90 days. If anything goes wrong with an online purchase that has been registered on the $ECURE-IT-e site, the insurance service will immediately reimburse the buyer for the amount of the disputed transaction and will handle all details of recovering the money in question.

$ECURE-IT-e says that it does not cover disputes with vendors, noting that, “The age-old adage of ‘buyer beware’ still applies.” The company does cover fraud, even if the buyer cannot prove the origin of the transaction, a critical factor because many online companies do not post their addresses and some have been found to post false addresses.

Vendor Pitch Too

Citing market research showing that fears about security cause nearly two-thirds of online shoppers to drop out of the check-out line before completing their online purchases, $ECURE-IT-e urges online merchants to give customers confidence by linking their sites to the $ECURE-IT-e site.

Such a link costs $499 (CA$) per year, but the company argues that the expenditure is worth it to convert fickle shoppers into returning customers. In addition, the company maintains that adding such a link makes it convenient for online shoppers to register their purchases and lends an added air of credibility to the vendor’s site.

That online endorsement can also be turned around, the company adds, noting that online merchants who create a link to the $ECURE-IT-e site without paying the annual fee will immediately be assigned to the “Disqualified Vendor” list.

Vendors or credit card issuers who refuse to cooperate with the company’s investigations of fraud claims will also be disqualified, the company says.

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