Protecting the e-Consumer

Written by admin on April 20th, 2011

Ever since the internet came into existence, businesses around the world started putting up their ware on the internet for people to buy. In the early days of internet marketing, people could look at the various models or the products available on the website. Then they would go to the shops and ask for that particular model. This was probably the safest method of shopping. The only difference it made to conventional shopping was that the consumers now spent lesser time at the shops as they knew what exactly they wanted.

Next came the age of the teleshopping. Though this was very much prevalent from the days of the television, the internet gave it a boost. When it came to the televisions, the broadcast signal for that particular shopping program was not available all the time, so, customers had to wait for the program and also the program would move at its own speed and if someone was to miss a part of the features of the product, they could not know about it till the next broadcast. This problem was sorted out by the internet. People could check out the website anytime they wanted and they could always take their time in order to check and recheck the various features of the product. After checking the product details online, the customer could call the respective company and then place an order which would then be delivered at the door step. Though this practice is still prevalent in a number of online transactions today, it created hype when it was first introduced.

Next came the age of the “order online” products. Consumers were overjoyed. Every dealer and retailer began to open websites to sell their products. This led to number of problems. The biggest problem was security; people were so excited of sitting at home and shopping that they had little concern about their online security. Losing money on internet transactions is still a big issue. Nobody is safe on the big bad internet. No doubt it is the biggest tool which has helped in simplifying the various parts of life, still the online shopping is one place where there is absolutely no guarantee that you have got the product you wanted until you get it. Sounds rhetorical, but that is the problem of online purchases to this day.

eBay made a big difference to the scenario of online shopping. They brought in the concept of consumer protection. This basically means that a consumer can lodge a complaint on the dealer with the website on a number of issues pertaining to online purchase. They have a number of security features and also enable payment through a number of methods or channels. Online bank payments, demand drafts and credit card payments are a few.  It is as simple as this. If you do no get your product within a stipulated time of the payment or release of cash, then you can lodge a complaint and obtain a full refund.

A lot is being done for online consumer protection. The customers need to be given assurance that they can be safe and their money will be safe and it will not disappear into the vortex of the internet. The consumers can be rest assured that the money will reach the dealer and also that the dealer will ship them the right product. The major issue that many of the online buyers or the ‘ebuyers’ face today is that they have no surety of where the money is going and also they have no idea if the product that they saw on their computer screen will be the same when delivered at their doorstep.

This is a major hurdle that the many IT engineers face while designing the websites for the products or large online shopping malls. The banks and the IT sector people got together and decided on certain steps that the customers have to follow when they are performing an online transaction. The details were very simple. The shopping page redirects the customer to a secure page which is hosted by the bank and all the communication is secured and encrypted. It then asks for details of the card or the payment process which are to be known only to the particular consumer in order to proceed with the payment. A number of these processes make up a secure channel of communication for the consumer to buy the product.

However this is where the ever unhappy consumers come in. People want their money to be safe but do not want to go through the lengthy process of validation or verification. It is always like wanting to have the cake and eat it too.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply