E-Commerce: Expectations and Shortfalls
AbstractThe concept of E-commerce has existed since the inception of the internet, but it has acquired significance in the recent years. India being one of the fastest growing E-commerce markets in the world has no specific legislation to protect the interests of the buyers and sellers of goods and services over the electronic medium. The situation is further complicated by the fact that a typical transaction over the internet or phone needs the involvement of many service providers including a payment gateway, the main website, the bank or card verification website, the security certification website and the final service provider, which includes the shipping agent who delivers the goods. Separate laws are required to regulate the functioning of all these intermediaries. The paper examines the existing provisions available for the protection of the buyers and sellers who conduct transactions through the electronic medium. Further, the customer protection policies of four dominant E- commerce websites in India being flipkart.com, irctc.co.in, makemytrip.com and groupon.co.in are evaluated. A few cases of consumer disputes arising over transactions conducted over the electronic medium are also discussed. Lastly, the paper analyses the measures which needs to be taken to provide protection to buyers and sellers on the internet.