Articles / Sun, 03 May 2020

Consumer Protection Toward Electronic Commerce Fraud in the Middle of COVID-19 Pandemic

Consumer Protection Toward Electronic Commerce Fraud in the Middle of COVID-19 Pandemic

Author: Siwi Cikadewi, Associate at Dewi Djalal & Partners

 

The implementation of Large-Scale Social Restrictions (PSBB) in various cities in Indonesia, and pursuant to provisions to remain at home, causing many consumers decided to purchase their daily needs by online means. In such cases, there are some of business actors who intentionally committing fraud in online trading, i.e. selling fake hand sanitizers or re-selling used face masks. Due to this situation, consumers should be more careful and thriftier in purchasing their daily needs and it is better for them to also comprehend their rights as consumers.

 

There was a case experienced by Juan in Palembang. He bought online hundreds of thousands of mask boxes with a value of around IDR 36 million to be allocated for medical personnel in Padang and West Java. However, the package he received Juan was just cardboard boxes filled with bricks. Yet, Juan’s case was just one of many examples.

 

Law of the Republic of Indonesia Number 8 of 1999 on Consumer Protection (hereinafter referred to as Law No.8/1999), the case can be concluded as a violation of consumer rights. Based on Article 4 Law No.8/1999 stated that the rights of consumers are as follows:

 

  1. the right to comfort, security and safety in using goods and/or services;
  2. the right of choosing goods and/or services and obtaining the said goods and/or services in accordance with the exchange value sand conditions and guarantees pledged;
  3. the right to correct, clear and honest information about the conditions and guarantees of goods and/or services;
  4. the right that their opinions and complaints about the goods and/or services used should be listened to;
  5. the right of obtaining advocacy, protection and an endeavor to properly settle disputes over consumers’ protection;
  6. the right of obtaining consumers’ guidance and education;
  7. the right of being correctly, honestly and indiscriminately treated and served;
  8. the right of obtaining compensations and/or refund, if the goods and/or services received do not conform to the agreement or are not as intended;
  9. the rights regulated in other laws.

 

On the other hand, obligations for business actors (notably online sellers) in Article 7 Law No. 8/1999 shall be:

 

  1. having good faith in conducting its business activities;
  2. providing correct, clear and honest information about the conditions and guarantees of the goods and/or services and providing explanation of the use, repair and maintenance;
  3. treating or serving consumers properly and honestly and indiscriminately;
  4. guaranteeing the quality of the goods and/or services produced and/or traded based on the prevailing standard provisions on the quality of goods and/or service;
  5. providing an opportunity to consumers to test, and/or try certain goods and/or services and providing assurance and/or guarantees for the goods manufactured and/or traded;
  6. providing compensations, damages and/or replacements for losses caused by the use, application and utilization of the goods and/or services traded;
  7. providing compensation, damages and/or replacements if the goods and/or services received or utilized do not conform to the agreement.”

 

In relation to this issue, in Article 8 paragraph (1) point (f) Law No.8/1999 explicitly prohibited business actors from trading goods or services that are not in conformity as pledged which stated in the label, description, statement, advertisement or promotion of the sale of goods and/or the services. Based on this provision, the discrepancy between the specifications of the goods received and the goods listed in the advertisement/photograph of the offer of the selling goods is a form of violation or prohibition for business actors in trading the goods.

 

As consumers, in Article 4 point (h) Law No.8/1999 stated that consumers have the rights to get compensations, damages and/or replacements if the goods and/or services they received do not comply with the agreement or are not as intended. Whereas, the business actors in Article 7 letter g Law No.8/1999 are obliged to provide compensations, damages and/or replacements if the goods and/or services they received or utilized are not conform to the agreement.

 

If business actors violate a prohibition on trading goods/services which not conform as stated in the label, description, statement, advertisement or promotion of the sale of goods and/or services, then the business actor can be convicted based on Article 62 paragraph (1) Law No. 8/1999 which states:

 

Business actors who violate the provisions as intended by Article 8, Article 9, Article 10, Article 13 paragraph (2), Article 15, Article 17 paragraph (1) letter a, letter b, letter c, letter e, paragraph (2) and Article 18 shall be liable to a maximum imprisonment of 5 (five) years or a maximum fine of Rp. 2,000,000,000, - (two billion rupiahs).

 

Thus, as smart consumer one need also to be very cautious before purchasing something via online. Following are several basic knowledge before purchasing online:

 

  1. purchase only from the credible website;
  2. please reconsider to purchase from any private account, even though it is in a well-known platform;
  3. never make any direct payment to the seller, moreover if you have no relation or never connected before;
  4. purchase only from the website that will secure your money and provide you with a warranty;
  5. when you want to purchase high demand, rare or collectible item(s) then you need to make sure about everything before you hit the transaction;
  6. never trust a website that does not want to provide any protection to the purchaser; and
  7. read testimony and review on the seller.

 

The above mentioned are preventive measures before we are entering into any online transactions. Rather than we have to deal with complicated fraudulent acts from any irresponsible online sellers.

 

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