Good practices guide for e-commerce

The Romanian Association of Online Stores recently published a good practices guide (the “Guide”) for e-commerce platforms operators, containing recommendations for a fair and transparent relation between such operators and their users.

The Guide focuses on certain matters, that we shall present below.

  1. Predictability of contractual terms and conditions

In order to ensure predictable and trustworthy relationships, platform users undertake to formalize the contractual relations with their users by drafting clear terms and conditions (“T&C”). In this sense, the T&C have to be simple and easily understood and also provide the procedure for dispute resolution. Also, the operators have to notify any amendment of the T&C, offering users reasonable time to accept or reject them.

  1. Creating a system enabling communication with users

The T&C must provide a reasonable deadline for responding to users.

  1. Justifying the decisions taken by the platform and access to alternative means of dispute resolution

The T&C must provide a description of the reasons for suspending or restricting the use of services and the users have to be informed of such measures.

The operators have to regulate effective procedures for mediation and/or other remedies against the elements that led to the decision to suspend or restrict the use of services.

  1.  Transparency regarding algorithms

The operators have to provide the users with information regarding the main parameters taken into consideration by the algorithms used by the platform.

  • Combating improper products

Operators have to elaborate procedures regarding quality control and, if necessary, introduce additional quality control procedures for certain specific products (e.g., sanitary masks).

  • Conclusion

Given the development of e-commerce, especially during the recent COVID-19 pandemic, as more and more people have changed their shopping habits and focused on buying most of their products online, regulating this field has become more necessary than ever. The aim of the Guide is to eliminate or at least reduce the risk that users might face while using e-commerce platforms, thus offering a higher degree of protection of consumer rights.

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