The Rights Of Consumers In The Digital Age: Advantages And Disadvantages Of E-Commerce

Sheshan Pradhan

18 Jan 2020 1:54 PM GMT

  • Consumer Protection

    E-commerce has seen immense growth in the recent past; the use of smartphones and readily available internet has completely transformed the way of purchasing today.

    Today a consumer not only make purchases online but also browse a wide range of goods, look for a specific product and also compare prices easily. But then there are certain disadvantages to this as well. In this article, we are going to look at both the prospect of E-commerce and also the Rights of a consumer in the digital era.

    The rapid growth of the E-commerce

    The Indian market place is changing rapidly, and with that, the methods of buying and selling are also evolving. With more and more e-commerce website coming into the business, it has increased the competition for the retails sellers. India's domestic and foreign trade with e-commerce is growing with an annual rate of 18%.

    The young generation today is the most active users of online shopping. Not only the generation, but even the whole country is also transforming itself into digital mode. The number of Internet users in the country will rise to 83 crores by the year 2021, that is 60% of its total population. Among them, 55 crore internet users will have access to the high-speed internet.

    Rights of the Consumers making online purchases

    India enacted the Consumers Protection law in 1986 to safeguard the interest of consumers. The law provisions set up the authorities like Consumer forum and councils to settle consumer's dispute. This act provided more straightforward and quicker access to redressal of consumer's grievances.

    A consumer plays a vital role in any economic system. Every year March 25 is observed as a World Consumers Right Day with a purpose to raise awareness among the consumers. But India marks December 24 as the National Consumers day because on that day the first-ever the consumer protection act was passed in 1987.

    Similar to a common consumer an e-commerce consumers right is also entitled to five basic rights

  • Right to information
  • Right to Safety
  • Rights to be heard
  • Right to choose
  • Right to redressal
  • These rights help a consumer to protect himself from the exploitation. It also induces efficiency transparency and accountability in the manufacturing industry.

    In the Anita Kushwaha Vs. Pushpa Sudha 2016 Case, the Supreme Court of India, said that "Access to Justice" is a fundamental right of citizens. The court also laid down four main features of Access to Justice.

  • The state must provide an effective adjudicatory mechanism
  • The mechanism must be reasonably accessible in terms of distance
  • The Process of Justice must be speedy
  • The access to the process must be affordable
  • On the other hand, the Government of India is also making its effort to address the rights of Online consumers. The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, GOI has established Online Consumer Meditation Centre OMOC at National Law School of India University in the year 2016.

    The primary purpose of OCMC is

  • To provide a platform to resolve the conflicts between consumer and e-commerce companies.
  • To provide better access to justice through a secure redressal mechanism.
  • Provides an opportunity to maintain good customer relations, especially for online consumers.
  • In the age of globalisation, the main objective of the manufacturer is to maximise profit. With the sole target of increasing sales manufacturer sometimes neglects the interest of consumers and exploits them by overcharging, selling inferior quality goods and misleading consumers with false advertisement. And That is why every country has some set of laws to protect its consumers, India is also heading towards its.

    Advantages and Disadvantages of E-commerce

    Online business have both advantages and disadvantages; e-commerce companies have made our life much more comfortable and convenient but sometimes cheat the customers too. However, if a person is not careful, then he may end up getting products they are not bargaining for. Let's look at some precautions that are needed when next time we go for online shopping.

    Disadvantages of E-commerce

    The exploitation of the Consumers – Sometimes, the e-commerce companies deliberately shows the shortage of product to up their prices. Even the higher rate doesn't guarantee better quality.

    Lack of personal touch between Buyer and Seller – During an online purchase a consumer and seller never faces each other, due to this a consumer gets only that information which is provided in the website, which may be insufficient sometimes. The fewer techie persons don't even know where to look for the relevant information.

    Delivery of Goods – Do you know that 20 % of times consumers face a problem of either wrong delivery, damaged product or expired product and delayed delivery. As a consumer, we don't even read the policy of the e-commerce companies before purchasing with them.

    Misuse of Card Information of Customers – There are the possibilities that the card information shared by the consumers on the website may be misused. The pay on delivery option is a good alternative for paying your online orders.

    Advantages of E-commerce

    E-commerce is not only beneficial for the consumers but also for the companies.

    Reduces cost of manufacturing – E-commerce helps the organisation to reduce the cost to create process and distribute. It also reduces the paper-based information by digitising the information.

    More Sales means More Profit – It allows the business to quickly locate more customers, suppliers and suitable business partners across the country. With the internet, a local company can be rapidly brought into a national perspective.

    The rapid growth of travel agents - The most significant share in online business goes to travel agents because of online travel companies responsible for more than 70% of the total market.

    For a customer the advantages are

  • Options to compare and select the best product
  • Can check the reviews before
  • Increases competition among the organisations and as a result website provides a sustainable discount.
  • Enables rural areas to access service and products
  • Hope you like the article and let us know if you have any questions or suggestion in the comment below. And do share this post with your friends and family.

    Sheshan Pradhan is a blogger and author at, he can be reached at

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