RadioShack and eBay Websites’ Privacy Policies

Since the creation of the World Wide Web, many businesses have taken advantage of the technology, especially in use for commercial purposes. Commercial services, such as online banking and online shopping, are among the fast-growing businesses taking place via the internet (Miller & Jentz 2011, 218). Online shopping simply means being able to directly conduct the business of purchasing goods or conduct services via the internet without necessarily being physically present, commonly referred to as electronic commerce (e-commerce) (Freed 2010).

An example of a company using the internet as a channel to conduct their business is RadioShack. This company offers retail services concepts, mainly dealing with consumer electronics retailer in the United States. Using their website www.RadioShack.com, the online servicing of the company has tremendously grown as people continue to find helpful information on shopping online, and thousands of products get to be delivered on doorsteps. But as much as online shopping is concerned, many people are usually concerned with the privacy policies before transactions are conducted. The online privacy policy of the RadioShack.com website, the company, explains how they use the information they get from their customers, which can either be personal or non-personal.

The customer’s information collected, such as the personally identifiable information, mostly includes personal details like name, address, telephone, postal code, email address, and the city, which can be used to process and deliver orders. The information can also be used as a means of contact in case of any queries from the client and informing the customer about the new products in the market plus other corporate-related information.

Also, while purchasing an item, the credit card information is collected to help process an order. The non-personal information, which includes one’s preferences and usage of the site, is the kind of information that is collected without any direct connection with a customer. The kind of information collected here is usually used to improve its clients’ internet shopping experience. Information, such as the Internet Protocol address, is collected to enable system administration, detail summative information, and rate their website usage (Smith and Tabak 2009, 41).

Another company using e-commerce is eBay Inc, America’s leading e-commerce company that manages online businesses worldwide. Using their website, www.ebayinc.com, they also have a privacy policy they call customer support. They state that the personal information of a consumer collected after registration is used to keep their site safe. Most of the personal information given is used to provide a safe, smooth, and better customer experience.

They also use the information to prevent any occurrence of illegal activities and put into effect user agreement. The relayed consumer information is used as a platform on which the company can provide or simply tell an individual about the company’s services and products together with the corporate affiliates as they target on marketing service, update and promotional offers. The information can also be one way of resolving disputes and problems between a consumer and the company. They also use cookies to help analyze their site’s flow, customize their services and content, and provide good adverts to promote trust and safety to their customers.

By comparing the two website privacy policies, it is clear there are some differences, but the fact is that the two companies have the best interest of their customers. Private policies are necessary for every company website dealing with business online. It helps individuals maintain some form of control over their personal information held by companies and help companies provide fair information practices to their clients. Both companies are aware of the importance of providing a secure environment for consumers to experience customer satisfaction and increase company profit and growth (Retsky 2003, 45).

How much protection do you think is offered by these policies?

Information gathered from the discussed companies’ privacy policies shows the extent to which companies are willing to go to ensure they implement privacy policies in their sites. How one can access the policies is seen as the key to usability. Unless the policies are readily accessed by users, the quality of the policies to the user really does not matter. In simple terms, how effective privacy policies are to the consumers really depends on how easy the users can find these policies. This depends on how and where the link to the policies is placed.

Studies have shown that companies concerned about the policies of private information will impact the consumer’s behavior; hence, if this is the case, companies ought to make privacy policies a priority. According to Steingold (2009), many consumers believe that they will be able to trust their product providers with good privacy policies. As noted by the policies, the protection to a consumer prevents a user from third parties who are mostly out there to conduct unlawful transactions like accessing private communications.

These policies also ensure that the consumers experience an effective level of protection, and they also have meaningful access to an issue like dispute resolutions (Krell 2010). These policies have greatly helped companies reduce incidences of legal liabilities since companies are beginning to realize the effect of breaching issues arising from privacy and that many companies are also being aware of the fact that issues related to privacy on the Web may certainly result in a widespread of the backlash to businesses in things like revenue and reputation.

Improving privacy policies

The companies can improve their privacy policies by introducing an IP address to be logged along with dates and times of accessing the site once a person visits the site. The information provided here can be used to examine trends, trail administrative actions of the site, and also collect demographical information that can be essential to the company. Another way of further improving privacy policies would be anonymizing the companies’ server logs after about 1-2 years as a way of ensuring the two goals are met at the same time the goal of continuously improving the companies’ services for its customers and also the goal of providing transparency and certainty to the customers.

Also, the companies can design privacy protections for different products to have clear and understandable policies that would be used by the consumers while making important decisions about using the companies’ services and products (Steingold 2009). Another desirable solution to improving privacy policy is to provide specifications that state that if an individual wish to disable cookies, they are free to do so with the help of the self browser option.

References

Freed, J. (2010). Create a Security Culture of Data Protection, Compliance. Hotel & Motel Management. Web.

Krell, E. (2010). Privacy Matters: safeguarding employees’ privacy requires an effective. HRMagazine. Web.

Miller, R. L. & Jentz G. A. (2011). Business Law Today 9th Edition. Mason, OH. Cengage.

Retsky, T. (2003). Reasonable Policy Can Avoid Docu-drama. Marketing News, volume 37, Issue 2, 45.

Smith, W. and Tabak F. (2009). Monitoring Employee E-mails: Is There Any Room for Privacy? The Academy of Management Perspectives, volume 23, Number 4, 33-48.