Internet has become the center of retail business now. In Nepal too, about 65 percent of Nepalis have access to the Internet. If you have a computer or a mobile phone, the goods will reach your home at the click of a button. The task of going to the market to buy goods and paying various bills is no longer a hassle for this generation. Not only the generation accustomed to the technology, but also the consumers who are shifting towards its use are becoming connoisseurs of e-commerce.
Users of digital content are also increasing in Nepal as access to technology such as internet, mobile, computer and television is increasing. With the rise of digital access, they have become not only users but also consumers. Due to the prevalence of information technology and the creation of new markets, it is time to launch a separate debate on consumer rights in Nepal. There is a growing trend of online shopping during the festive season. There are also those who work well in the name of online shopping site. Consumer fraud groups are also active on this occasion.
Poor quality item
Before purchasing any goods, one should get information about the time of manufacture, time of consumption, price, quality etc. However, many consumers are deceived when it comes to buying and selling content online. There are complaints that even the so-called branded goods do not have quality. For this, consumers need to know the producers, suppliers or sellers well while choosing the goods or services.
Business Fraud Rising
Fraud cases are one of the reasons why e-commerce business is not progressing in Nepal. The prices are higher than the actual price, not available in the promised quality, there is no provision of compensation, no warranty for the goods sold online, no facility of exchange etc. are increasing. “There are a lot of complaints about over-pricing and quality of good and service,” said Kalyani Sah, director of Seva Nepal. Her organization is currently conducting research in Nepal’s e-commerce business.
Branding and marketing is increasing through social media and various other things to attract customers. Consumers do not know whether the companies that sell in this way are officially registered or not. Therefore, the companies that have registered and done good business have been embarrassed. ‘Consumers focus on price. Whether it’s from a big registered company or a group that sells goods through Facebook, they tend to go where it is cheaper. As a result, they are deceived.
- No refund policy
- Lack of exchange facilities
- Do not specify the warranty of the item
- Lack of quality assurance
- Lack of competitive pricing
Who will monitor?
Problems like black market, artificial scarcity, syndicate, carteling, weight loss exist in the market. Despite government monitoring, the market has spiraled out of control. In this context, the incidence of business fraud is increasing due to lack of clear legal provisions for e-commerce business. As the scope of the incident is increasing, the current Electronic Transactions Act, Banking Misconduct Act, Consumer Protection Act and others have become inadequate. There are also complaints that the new Cyber Policy and Information Technology Umbrella Act, which is supposed to be introduced by the government, does not contain clear provisions in this regard.
“Consumers focus on price, not quality, when buying goods online. It is only after coming home to know whether the goods are genuine or counterfeit. They create a situation where they have to buy and consumers buy. There is no facility of exchange and compensation in case of fraud. There is a need for a monitoring or monitoring system to determine if such items are genuine. After the open market, anyone can do anything, ‘said Sah.
Yagya Prasad Adhikari, chief of the Promotion and Advocacy Division under the Human Rights Commission, argues that consumer rights are limited to laws and slogans. “Black marketeers have benefited from the failure of government bodies,” he said. The government has set up a monitoring mechanism in its respective areas from 10 bodies coordinating the monitoring mechanism. But consumer problems are there, ‘he said. Moreover, due to the lack of legal provisions regarding digital consumers, it is becoming difficult to monitor, investigate and take action on fraud cases.
Serious challenges to privacy
include internet character assassination, spreading violence, sexual violence, internet fraud, unauthorized use of another person’s identity, theft of credit cards and accounts, banking offenses, and damage to other people’s computers, electronic devices and networks. It is considered a cyber crime.
Now not only e-commerce but also online services provided by banks, online services provided by governmental and non-governmental organizations are discussed. Many problems are also being created when everyone is planning to provide services to the citizens through digital medium. Advertisers want to come up with their own plans by collecting consumer data. In the fields of insurance, banking, e-commerce, etc., customer data is collected and when sharing it with others, users face many complications.
Consumers should be aware of what kind of data can be given or not when using cyber. Also, information on the security of privacy-related data should be sought. If privacy is breached, there should be information about legal remedies.
Irregularities in the awareness program are the responsibility of the government and the suppliers of goods, services, products, imports, stocks or sales to make the consumers aware and aware. As consumer rights are an integral part of human rights and fall within the definition of consumers from ordinary citizens to heads of state, consumer rights are of paramount importance. Consumers currently have to deal with inadequacies, including the black market in consumer goods.
Former chairman of NEA, Kandel, says that the market should be monitored through a special mechanism within 365 days by making the consumer law and regulations up-to-date. He says that the slogan of the day can be implemented in practice only if a concrete action plan can be brought to intervene in the market through public institutions. The market has not been organized as the state is not responsible and businessmen are not honest, ‘he said. The number of institutions opening in the name of consumers is increasing after receiving money from government agencies. Most of the organizations opened by adding the names of the consumers are limited to taking money from the government. These organizations seem to be earning money in the name of consumer rights.
Consumer Protection: Challenges in the Digital Age
The development of the Internet has globalized the market and expanded borderless e-commerce. At the same time, new forms of internet fraud are coming. Consumers are at risk of identity theft, which has also challenged the credibility and growth of online businesses. Illegal copying and unauthorized distribution of digital works is on the rise. Audio CDs, DVDs, and e-books are now gaining traction in daily employment products. But it is also spreading the net of crime. This is why many active Internet users are reluctant to purchase goods or services on the Internet, worrying about security and privacy issues. They are even reluctant to keep their financial statements in cyberspace.
In the Constitution of Nepal, every consumer has the right to receive quality goods and services, as well as the person who has been harmed by substandard goods or services, has the fundamental right to be compensated according to the law. With the advent of technology, the issue of data privacy has become sensitive. It has brought new changes like consumerism, e-commerce, e-purchase. Mobile phones, computers, the Internet are rapidly changing lifestyles. With the advent of new local and international buying and selling platforms, there is concern about how to manage consumer protection in the digital age. Digital technologies create new opportunities for consumers. However, their rights are more sensitive.
- Similar consumer protection for analog and digital, online and offline
- Using digital locks to override consumer rights
- Only collect personal information with permission and keep it safe against possible abuse
- Accessible, neutral and quality internet service, consumer right to content
- Extra security for online businesses
How to be aware?
In the digital world, not only telephones but also websites, apps, social networks and telephones are enough to buy goods. Many types of goods are available in one place in online stores. It is easier to buy a product because you have to look around for it, compare the prices of different stores, and not have to bargain. But if it is not easy to pay attention to some aspects of safe purchase, the consumer may also suffer the opposite loss.
Security company Rigo Technology writes in a blog:
Your computer, mobile, or tablet needs to be secure when shopping online. The activities of various types of liars, swindlers and internet criminals are more frequent than at other times. Internet criminals can steal your information, install viruses or spy software when you click on the links in your email, Facebook posts, online advertisements. So before you click on any link, think about who sent the link from where and why you should not click on that link. Don’t click on links that are sent by a completely trusted source unless absolutely necessary.
If a site or bank requests some personal information, username or password via email, please report such request to the relevant place. But never click or reply to that email. Personal information is worth the money, understand its value and protect it. When shopping online, consider what is requested in the form, what it is for and whether it is necessary.
Another important thing is whether the goods are returned satisfactorily after purchase, if they are bad, unhealthy or if there is any problem, the money will be refunded after return or the goods should be taken instead. At present, goods are delivered in Nepal only on cash and delivery. In this model you can pay the person who will deliver the goods only after you have received the desired and selected items in your hand.
After purchasing the goods, keep an order number, a paid card or an account and verify your records, goods and deducted money after receiving the goods and after the bank sends the card statement. Don’t forget to check as soon as you receive the goods. As soon as you receive the goods you have purchased, check whether the goods you have ordered have been torn, jumped, crushed or damaged. If you need to return or replace it, do it right away.
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