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

https://doi.org/10.21684/2412-2343-2020-7-2-118-147

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Abstract

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 insufficient 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. Acontract concluded on a site is a special type of adhesion contract. If a site sells goods from different 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 fulfill 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.

About the Authors

E. Ostanina
Chelyabinsk State University
Russian Federation

Elena Ostanina – Associate Professor, Department of Civil Law and Procedure

129 Br. Kashirini St., Chelyabinsk, 454001



E. Titova
South Ural State University
Russian Federation

Elena Titova – Director, Institute of Law

78 Lenina Av., Chelyabinsk, 454082



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For citation:


Ostanina E., Titova E. The Protection of Consumer Rights in the Digital Economy Conditions – the Experience of the BRICS Countries. BRICS Law Journal. 2020;7(2):118-147. https://doi.org/10.21684/2412-2343-2020-7-2-118-147

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ISSN 2409-9058 (Print)
ISSN 2412-2343 (Online)