Why are “trust badges” so important?

Look at the bottom of SolidSignal.com and you’ll see a bunch of logos. We’re not trying to be a NASCAR site… each one of those logos is there for a reason. They’re called “Trust Badges” and they each link to another site that will help verify that it’s safe to shop at SolidSignal.com.

You find these badges on a lot of sites, and the company we associate with — Trustwave — is only one of the ones you’ll find. There are several. We chose Trustwave many years ago because they seemed like a good partner for a consumer-electronics site like ours. The other companies are good as well.

If you see these badges, you can feel a little more comfortable shopping. If you don’t… let me share a story from my own life. I’m a pretty careful shopper so I should have known better but…

About a month ago I was looking for a new camera. I went to Google Shopping, knowing exactly what I wanted. I found it at a site (I’m withholding the name for now) for about $70 less than other sites, with free shipping. I’d seen the site before but never bought from them. Everything looked good on the site, although I didn’t look for those trust badges. I placed my order.

Three days later I got a call. The camera didn’t come with a battery, would I like to buy one? Aha! That’s why the price was so low. So yes, I paid for the battery and the rep promised to throw in a few other bits as well like a desktop tripod (which I know costs about $4.) At that point I probably should have canceled the sale but I really wasn’t out any money. I would have paid about the same at any other site for what I was getting, with shipping factored in.

That same day, my credit card was charged and everything looked to be on the up and up. The site says they don’t charge the card until they ship, which is a common practice in this industry. However, I never got a tracking number. Two days later I called them after my emails were answered with “I’ll find out for you” and nothing else. Instead of a tracking number I was told it takes 72 hours to get a tracking number (which is a lie) and “don’t worry, it will come.”

On the site it said shipping took 10-15 days so I assume that this vendor is buying things from a distributor and shipping them to customers when they arrive. That’s normal, too. But here it is about 13 days out and I still don’t have anything. Chances are very good that I’ll have to dispute the charge and deal with all the nonsense from the credit card company, and in the meantime not have a camera.


Because I should have known not to trust this other site. No trust badges. Anyone can put up a very convincing web site in just a few minutes… obviously these people did. Then they took my money and still haven’t delivered.

The next time you shop, check out the bottom of the page and look for those trust badges. Then click on every one to make sure they really apply to the site you’re visiting. It’s worth it. Believe me, I sure wish that I had.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.