An E-Commerce website is a kind of a software application, which provides a platform for those who want to spread their business online through online marketing and sales.
There are 3 main ways to classify the different types of ecommerce platforms:
a. Open-Source: Hosting Environment: Cloud or On-Premise, though all patches and platform updates require manual implementation across the board. Open-source ecommerce platforms are ecommerce solutions in which you can modify all aspects of the code.
b. SaaS (Software as a Service): SaaS ecommerce platforms remove much of the complexity from running an online business because instead of managing the software yourself. Instead of building and developing a custom solution or an open-source solution, you essentially “rent” the platform.
c. Headless Commerce: Headless Commerce is a version of CaaS ecommerce in which the shopping cart is decoupled from the Control Management System (CMS).
The two types of web hosting environments are:
a. Cloud: Hosted Elsewhere.
b. On-Premise: Self-hosted on your business premises.
Self-hosted ecommerce platforms: Self-hosted ecommerce platforms require online store owners to find hosting, deal with installations and oftentimes perform updates to the software manually.
Cloud-hosted ecommerce platforms: Cloud-hosted ecommerce platforms offer hosting for their customers via off-site solutions like Amazon Web Services. This means the cloud platform manages uptime for the brand.
Benefits Of E-Commerce
It helps the business owners to customise their products as they wish for, and this benefits the business owners as well as the customers.
- Run on a single, unified platform.
- Provide a 360° customer view
- Intelligently managing orders.
- Deliver innovative customer experiences.
- Support unlimited expansion.
Law Governing E-Commerce
- Consumer Protection Act, 1986
- Information Technology Amendment Act, 2008
- Policies laid down by regulatory bodies like Reserve Bank of India, Indian Medical Association (IMA) etc, depending on the product/service sold. For example, IMA regulations will apply in cases where medicines are sold online.
What if the E-Commerce platform refuses to refund?
a. If you are within the refund time period, and paid through your credit card, and they are ignoring your refund request, then contact your credit card company who have the leverage to take your money back from them on your behalf. This process is called chargebacks.
b. Another way is to damage the e-commerce business’ image on social media and reach out to large public regarding the same, and they will refund your money, so that you stop defaming them.
c. It is advisable to have a written communication with them, if oral communication does not work, as this becomes a proof for further use. If, even after the written communication they do not attend to your grievance, then file a case in the consumer court.
d. If you don’t get any response after the deadline, approach the consumer forum/commission. Take help from a local consumer group if needed. According to an order from the Supreme Court dated August 2017, e-commerce consumers can file complaints at the consumer forum in their own city.
In the case of State of Delhi v. Mohd. Afzal & Others the Courts held that Electronic records are admissible as evidence and further observed that if someone challenges the accuracy of a computer evidence or electronic record on the grounds of misuse of system or operating failure or interpolation, then the person challenging it must prove the same beyond reasonable doubt.
e. In some cases, e-commerce companies that are intermediaries, try to pass on the liability to the manufacturer saying that the payment finally goes to them. But there are provisions, such as in the IT Act, that require e-commerce companies to exercise due diligence.
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 107 (2003) DLT 385