Information asymmetry and fear of opportunism turn e-commerce information failures into a threat for e-vendors’ trustworthiness. Consumers that perceive an e-vendor as dishonest and unreliable, in turn, form intentions to notify others through spreading of negative electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM). While information systems (IS) researchers agree on the relevance of trust for e-commerce interactions, little effort has been taken to understand how IS design should respond to information failures to defend e-vendors’ trustworthiness. The purpose of the present paper is to contribute to trust violation and repair research in web-enabled buyer-seller interactions. By building upon trust research and related theories an explanatory model for the relationship between information failures, trustworthiness and negative eWOM is derived. A special focus is given to the distinct role of each subdimension of trustworthiness (integrity, benevolence, competence). Finally, design interventions that defend e-vendors’ trustworthiness are derived. Results of an experiment support the research model.

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