The Protection of Consumer Rights in the Digital Economy Conditions - the Experience of the BRICS Countries

Author:E. Ostanina - E. Titova
Position:Chelyabinsk State University (Russia, Chelyabinsk) - South Ural State University (Russia, Chelyabinsk)
Pages:118-147
BRICS LAW JOURNAL Volume VII (2020) Issue 2
THE PRoTECTIon oF ConSumER RIGHTS
In THE DIGITAL EConomy ConDITIonS – THE ExPERIEnCE
oF THE BRICS CounTRIES
ELENA OSTANINA,
Chelyabinsk State University (Russia, Chelyabinsk)
ELENA TITOVA,
South Ural State University (Russia, Chelyabinsk)
https://doi.org/10.21684/2412-2343-2020-7-2-118-147
Online contracts are characterized by unequal economic opportunities. The consumer,
traditionally, has fewer economic opportunities, the seller – more. Digitalization of
consumer-seller relations did not solve the old problem of insucient consumer protection,
but rather exacerbated it. Now the consumer needs to be protected from unscrupulous
actions of both the seller and the aggregator of the information on goods, works, and
services, i.e. the owner of the site on which the consumer buys the good, orders the work
or the service. A contract concluded on a site is a special type of adhesion contract. If a site
sells goods from dierent sellers (which often happens), the terms and conditions of the
adhesion contract are determined not only by the seller, but also by the site owner. Thus,
the economically weak party – the consumer, needs to be protected both against the
seller’s abuse, and against the site owner’s abuse. The article compares the experience of
regulating the relations between the consumer, the seller (contractor) and the information
aggregator accumulated by the EU countries, on the one hand, and BRICS countries, on
the other. It is concluded that the development of regulation in all the BRICS countries
is currently moving towards providing the consumer with the widest information
opportunities. It is necessary to support the idea of holding the e-commerce aggregator
responsible for any failure to fulll its obligations to the consumer. The responsibility is
considered acceptable when the aggregator has not informed the consumer that it does
not provide goods, work , services, or in cases of the aggregator’s gross negligence in
identifying the user when registering a potential seller on the site. A separate problem is
the public legal status of the online platform aggregator, since when an onsite contract
is concluded, the consumer should not receive less secure goods than when a contract is
concluded through an exchange of documents in the ordinary “paper” form.
ELENA OSTANINA, ELENA TITOVA 119
Keywords: BRICS; digital law; digitalization of law; digital economy; online trading;
protection of consumer rights; civil law; comparative law; law digital environments.
Recommended citation: Elena Ostanina & Elena Titova, The Protection of Consumer
Rights in the Digital Economy Conditions – the Experience of the BRICS Countries, 7(2)
BRICS Law Journal 118–147 (2020).
Table of Contents
Introduction
1. Do We Need a Special Law Regulating E-Commerce with the
Participation of the Consumer?
1.1. Russia
1.2. India
1.3. China
1.4. Brazil
1.5. South Africa
2. Responsibility of the Information Aggregator for the Defects of Goods,
Works, and Services
3. E-Commerce Aggregators as Employers
4. Are the Activities of Information Aggregators Licensed?
5. Protection of Individuals’ Deposits from Illegal Internet Instructions
Conclusion
Introduction
In the summer 2016, Forbes Magazine announced that the title of the world’s
richest man went to Je Bezos, the owner of Amazon.com, whose fortune was
measured at 90.5 billion dollars and who unseated the notorious Bill Gates from
this ambiguous “position. A bit earlier, in 2016, Ma Yun (better known as Jack Ma),
the owner of aliexpress.com with a fortune of over 32 billion dollars, was recognized
as the richest man in the People’s Republic of China.
What is common between them? The fact that both sites, which brought such
impressive fortunes to their founders, have one purpose – to sell all kinds of goods to
consumers worldwide. These are just two sites most famous for their size out of many
thousands (if not tens of thousands) of similar sites, including Russian ones. Some
of them oer their own goods, while others are only intermediary resources. Some
specialize in a specic category of goods (cars, digital and household appliances,
clothing, food and drinks, etc.).

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