It has been widely accepted that distrust is qualitatively different from trust. Yet scholarly knowledge about the antecedents of distrust is scarce, while the antecedents of trust have received extensive attention. Furthermore, little empirical research has explored how website factors impact on the formation of distrust in a user. Drawing upon the review of distrust literature and competence-motive perception, we propose a new theoretical framework to explain how website factors impact on perceptions of the attributes of a given website, which in turn form user distrust. In this research, distrust is triggered by website evaluations in two areas, namely malevolence and incompetence. These two attributes are determined by three website factors: lack of structural assurance, interface design, and lack of third-party recognition. The proposed research model of distrust formation in the online context is verified by an online survey with 283 valid responses. We offer theoretical and practical implications for our findings.