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Protection of Consumer Rights on the Internet: Prospects and Challenges for the Sri Lankan Legal System

Author:

Bamunu Achchige Rishanthi Ruwanthika Ariyaratna

The Open University of Sri Lanka, LK
About Bamunu Achchige Rishanthi
Department of Legal Studies
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Abstract

The development of Internet and e-commerce has tremendously changed the habits and behaviors of consumers. This fast and efficient medium of transaction has been able to overcome many obstacles inherent to offline transactions and as a result, e-commerce and e-transactions have become more popular among consumers who are struggling with hectic lifestyles. However, it is evident that online consumers are exposed to many inevitable challenges on the Internet, more than the offline consumers specifically with regard to violation of their consumer rights. Every consumer is entitled to several rights whether he/she is dealing online or offline, including the right to information, right to redress, right to privacy, etc. Nonetheless, online consumers are more vulnerable to face the violation of those rights in a virtual market, as they deal with unknown sellers and venders. Therefore, protecting consumer rights in the online marketplace is a timely important topic. At the international and regional level this issue has been discussed and the OECD Guidelines for consumer protection in E-Commerce, the United Nations Guidelines on Consumer Protection and European Union Directive on Consumer Rights are some of the examples for online consumer protection. Currently, Sri Lanka is in the process of developing information and communication technology, as well as e-commerce. In the recent decades, Sri Lankan legislature has paid attention to introducing new laws to facilitate e-commerce and electronic transactions such as the Electronic Transactions Act and the Computer Crime Act. At the same time, in 2003, Sri Lankan consumer protection legal regime was also repealed. As a result, the Consumer Affairs Authority Act was enacted. However, afore-mentioned legislations fail to specifically address the issue of protecting online consumer rights. Therefore, the aim of this research is to analyze the existing Sri Lankan legal framework and highlight the lacuna relating to online consumer protection. The research will basically use the qualitative approach and extensive literature analysis will be used for collecting primary and secondary data.
How to Cite: Ruwanthika Ariyaratna, B.A.R., 2018. Protection of Consumer Rights on the Internet: Prospects and Challenges for the Sri Lankan Legal System. OUSL Journal, 13(2), pp.5–23. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/ouslj.v13i2.7439
Published on 31 Dec 2018.
Peer Reviewed

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