Consumer Rights in online shopping
According to Philip Kotler, ‘Retailing includes all the activities involved in selling goods or services to the final consumers for personal, non-business use. Selling to the final consumers whether it is by a manufacturer, a wholesaler or a retailer-is retailing irrespective of the fact that the goods or services are sold (by person, mail, telephone, vending machine or internet or where they are sold – in a store, on the street or in the consumer’s home).’
Indian customers are habituated to shop from traditional seller due to Indian psychology. They shop product or goods with the key factors i.e. trust and security. While purchasing from traditional shop, Indian customer creates relationship with owner. There is always a known seller in traditional shopping, and also a built up trust, for which customers ignore to check the quality of the product sometimes. When there is emergency need of the goods, the customer calls the seller and gets immediate goods. Sometimes without paying money on time, customer gets goods immediately. And seller is personally attached to the customer, so customer feels much secure. Customer need not be worried in case of traditional seller. Sometimes when goods are defected, customers immediately replace purchased goods from the seller. As traditional shopping is sometimes time consuming, customers have to stand in queue but customers find much security and trust in case of traditional shopping. And quick delivery takes place in case of traditional shopping. Therefore, nowadays consumers are moving towards online shopping. But they are not fully aware about consumer rights available while dealing with online shopping.
According to Consumer Protection Act, 1986
The objects of the Central Council shall be to promote and protect the rights of the consumers such as-
(a) The right to be protected against the marketing of goods and services which are hazardous to life and property;
(b) The right to be informed about the quality, quantity, potency, purity, standard and price of goods or services, as the case may be so as to protect the consumer against unfair trade practices;
(c) The right to be assured, wherever possible, access to a variety of goods and services at competitive prices;
(d) The right to be heard and to be assured that consumer's interests will receive due consideration at appropriate forums;
(e) The right to seek redressal against unfair trade practices or restrictive trade practices or unscrupulous exploitation of consumers; and
(f) The right to consumer education.
Online shoppers’ must be aware about consumer rights of online shopping. If their rights are breached, they have to follow legal actions to solve issues.
-by Prof. Nita Solanki
Rai University, Ahmedabad