Consumer Perceptions of Cpa Webtrust Assurances: Evidence of an Expectations Gap

International Journal of Auditing, July 1999

23 Pages Posted: 26 Nov 1999

See all articles by Richard W. Houston

Richard W. Houston

University of Alabama

Gary K. Taylor

University of Alabama - Culverhouse College of Commerce & Business Administration

Abstract

The AICPA/CICA has established WebTrust to respond to consumer concerns about the risks of making purchases over the Internet. While WebTrust provides assurances related to Internet vendors'; business and security practices, it does not provide assurances with respect to product or service quality. This paper examines perceptions of the assurances provided by WebTrust and the effect of WebTrust on the willingness to make Internet purchases by asking 106 accounting majors to complete a case concerning a company engaging in electronic commerce. Results suggest that, while WebTrust provided no additional assurances with respect to business and security practices, it resulted in higher perceived product quality. We also find that product quality is the most important determinant of subjects'; willingness to purchase from a Web site displaying the WebTrust seal. The results suggest an expectation gap and suggest that the AICPA/CICA should examine closely the value added by WebTrust and better communicate its purpose.

JEL Classification: M49, K22

Suggested Citation

Houston, Richard W. and Taylor, Gary Kenneth, Consumer Perceptions of Cpa Webtrust Assurances: Evidence of an Expectations Gap. International Journal of Auditing, July 1999, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=149087 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.149087

Richard W. Houston (Contact Author)

University of Alabama ( email )

Culverhouse School of Accountancy 310 Alston, Box 870220
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487
United States
205-348-8392 (Phone)
205-348-8453 (Fax)

Gary Kenneth Taylor

University of Alabama - Culverhouse College of Commerce & Business Administration ( email )

Box 870223
Dept. of Accounting
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0223
United States

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