The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has highlighted the significant numbers of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) being deterred from e-commerce, following a report by the House of Lords Science & Technology Committee. Despite the fact that the geographical reach of the Internet makes it possible for SMEs to compete in the global market at low cost, just 18% of SMEs are selling on-line. Less than one percent of those derive all of their sales through the Internet.
The risk of credit card fraud is a significant concern to 19% of businesses, yet only 6% have actually experienced on-line credit card fraud.
Recent recommendations made in a report on Personal Internet Security by the House of Lords Science & Technology Committee, many of which are backed by the FSB, include increased research into e-crime as well as e-crime victims having the opportunity to report Internet crime to the police and to receive a crime number in return, just like any other type of crime.
The FSB supports work to establish a national e-crime co-ordination unit with the Metropolitan Police and applauds efforts by organisations such as GetSafeOnline to engage with small and micro-businesses.
The FSB also supports recommendations for legislation that banks should take some responsibility for losses incurred as a result of electronic fraud. Many small businesses and online retailers are caught by charge-backs from card fraud which they often receive months down the line, even after they think a transaction has been successfully processed.
David Croucher-Jones, FSB Home Affairs Chairman, said:
"The extent to which the UK's SME sector is engaged in e-commerce is an issue of considerable economic significance. We applaud the Lords Committee for having highlighted and recommended proposals that are essential to Internet trade moving forward - but recommending and doing are two different things.
"E-crime needs to be given the same status as crime that is committed against a bricks and mortar business. Only when this is accomplished, by implementing the Lords recommendations, can more small businesses benefit from having a stronger online presence. Customers will also benefit from the increased choice and convenience that online security can bring."
Notes to Editors:
1. The statistics in this press release were taken from the FSB's members survey, which received over 19,000 responses 'Lifting the Barriers to Growth 2006', which can be found at:
2. The full 5th report by the Lords Science & Technology Committee, can be found here: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200607/ldselect/ldsctech/165/165i.pdf
3. The FSB is Britain's biggest business organisation with over 205,000 members. It exists to protect and promote the interests of the self-employed, and all those who run their own business. More information is available at www.fsb.org.uk.
For interviews with FSB Chief Spokesman Stephen Alambritis or other senior FSB personnel please contact the FSB Press Office.
FSB Press Office
Matthew Knowles: 020 7592 8113 / 07917 628991
Simon Briault: 020 7592 8128 / 07917 628998
Belinda Webb: 020 7592 8121 / 07825 125 695
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