The E-commerce sector in India is witnessing an unprecedented growth, wherein the online shoppers are no more restricted to the younger ones but even the elder ones are preferring to shop online while enjoying the comforts of home. All thanks to the new age technology and the advent of smart phones by which purchase of anything anywhere is just a click away!! Indian Daily, Economic Times recently reported that number of online shoppers in India in 2015 were 50 million and the same estimated to hike to 320 million by 2020.
In view of this unparalleled spurt, it is evident that appropriate laws must be formulated so that any kind of fraud is prevented and the interests of consumers are safeguarded. Primarily, in the E-commerce sector, there are two basic types of transactions namely B2B (business to business) and B2C (business to customer).
B2B is one of the major and valuable models of e‐commerce. Under this, e‐commerce is conducted between two separate businesses. E‐commerce plays an important role in enhancing and transforming relationships between and among business. B2B is also known as e‐biz i.e. the exchange of products, services, or information between businesses rather than between businesses and consumers. Under this, one company communicates with other companies through electronic medium. Some of these transactions include sending and receiving orders, invoice and shopping orders etc. It is an alternative to the current process of printing, mailing various business documents.
B2C e-commerce consists of the sale of products or services from a business to the general public. Products can be anything from clothing to flowers and the products can also be intangible products such as online banking, stock trading, and airline reservations etc. B2C is basically a concept of online marketing and distributing of products and services over the internet.
E-commerce or electronic transactions lead to the formation of e-contracts, wherein typically the agreements are standard form agreements. Thus, such contracts are governed by the Indian Contract Act, 1872 and in view of the technological intervention, such contracts are also governed by relevant provisions under the Information Technology Act, 2000. Thus, as per the Indian Contract Act, such contracts must adhere to the basic requirements of validity i.e. contract entered with free consent of parties, there is lawful consideration of the contract, parties shall be competent to contract and the object of contract shall be lawful.
Provision under the IT Act- The Information Technology Act, 2008 (IT Act), under Section 10A provides for validity of contracts formed through electronic means and lays down that where in a contract formation, the communication of proposals, the acceptance of proposals, the revocation of proposals and acceptances, as the case may be, are expressed in electronic form or by means of an electronic record, such contract shall not be deemed to be unenforceable solely on the ground that such electronic form or means was used for that purpose.
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