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On-line trading or E-Commerce

About On-line trading? With the rise in advance computer and other electronic technological innovations, trading has taken a new dimension where the parties to a trade conduct transaction electronically, thus
10 Apr 2017 12:59
On-line trading or E-Commerce
Commerce Commission

About On-line trading?

With the rise in advance computer and other electronic technological innovations, trading has taken a new dimension where the parties to a trade conduct transaction electronically, thus moving away from the traditional mode of face to face contact.

On-line traders use social media network like facebook and others that has high concentration of local users to market their products.

Business social media pages are created without the bureaucratic process of formalising identity and link up to consumers with ease.

Products are displayed online with prices and consumers get to make choices from what they see.

Following the choices, payments are made by direct bank deposit to nominated accounts and the item purchased mailed to nominated address of collection.

Risks and Challenges

As e-commerce or on-line trading is fast becoming the most prominent mode of trade in our modern society including Fiji,

we must not be swept away by the simplicity and velocity of exchange it brings, rather equal focus should be directed to the risks and challenges that accompany such medium.

In Fiji, on-line trading is still in its infancy stage and already its negative aspect seems to force its way into the forefront of consumers’ attention.

Given the high level of people’s access to social network sites like facebook and twitter, on-line traders take advantage of this concentration of attention to market their products.

Whilst a handful has successfully utilised these mediums to profit through fair trade, a few have been caught taking advantage of the absence of face to face contact to engage in unscrupulous trade conducts.

Trading of goods or services without face to face contact have certain challenges and included but not limited to the following-

  •  Shipping delays;
  •  Confirmation of right choices to supply;
  •  Establishing authenticity of business identity or ownership;
  •  Confirmation of commitment from consumers.

Supply and Payment

Different online trade follow different procedures.

In some cases, consumers are required to make payments up front through bank deposits and await promised of the arrival of the product from overseas suppliers.

Other cases, payments are done through credit card with conditions of payment release once goods or services are received and accepted.

When the items purchased failed to arrive as expected, the frustrated consumers report the matter to regulators like the Commission. Some of these types of cases have been investigated and offenders taken to task.

In a few cases found that the trader has changed identity several times after receipt of

payment, before the matter gets detected and reported.

Types of on-line or e-commerce trading?

There are various types of on-line trading found around the world and in our local front, the most common of all is B2C types – or business to consumer trading.

Others include B2B (business to business) and C2C (consumer to consumer) trade.

Breaches by Local on-Line traders

In the cases brought to the Commission and Consumer Council of Fiji, it was detected that business identities have changed several times and those involved were found not formally registered.

These were taken as false and misleading representation conduct, which is a breach of the Commerce Commission Act 2010 (CCA2010) and Crimes Decree 2009.

Also there were issues of accepting payment without being able to supply as ordered – Section 88 of CCA2010. One such trader caught last year was ‘Pink Window Creations’ who traded on ‘Indian costumes’ on-line and failed to supply the items several months after receiving the payments.

When caught and investigated further, the business was found to be trading on-line on a different identity.

Investigation revealed that none of the trading names were registered, but the person trading was registered under a different business name. The person has been charged and taken to court.

                          

  SOURCE: Fiji COMMERCE COMMISSION

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