Online transactions need proper regulations – Law lecturer

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A Commercial Law practitioner, Jude Atakora Tuffuor, has said the proliferation of online sale transactions call attention to an urgent need for the country to enact laws that spell out clearly the rules to govern online sale transactions.

“In line with the proliferation of online sale transactions, it has become necessary that proper laws are made to govern it,” he said.

Making a presentation on the ‘Impact of Electronic Commerce on The sale of Goods Act, 1962 (Act 137), Lawyer Tuffuor who is also a senior law lecturer at Central University said the Sale of Goods Act – even though it has been argued as applicable to online transactions – is inconclusive.

He said there is no clear-cut indication as to which implied terms apply, and to which type of transaction.

This situation, Mr. Tuffuor argued, calls for legislative reform to spell out clearly the rules that govern sales transactions – as has been done for domestic sale of goods.

He said, generally, disputes in sale transaction are inevitable; saying “Myriads of disputes may arise with online sale transactions, as buyers do not have direct contact with goods before purchase”.

He said, in this instance, most online platforms provide exclusion clauses which absolve the administrator from any liability.

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Some of these online sale platforms such as Jumia and Jiiji, he said, have arbitration clauses; but others such as Tonaton, Maxmart and Melcom online platforms have no respective arbitration clauses.

Again, he said, there is no distinction between direct online transaction sites such as Jumia, Tonaton and third-party entity online shopping sites such as those which act as conduits for sale transactions in Melcom online shopping.

The Internet’s advent has made it possible for many people to engage in online business. Many Ghanaians can now buy and sell their goods online without the parties having an opportunity to meet each other.

Both Internet and smartphones penetration have increased considerably in recent years, broadening the market for online shopping as well as online sale transactions.

As of December 2017, Ghana’s Internet users were estimated at 10.1 million, according to Internet World Stats, which is roughly equal to 34 percent of the population.

This has given rise to more entrepreneurs taking to Internet-based businesses and launching additional e-commerce offerings, especially as the country seeks to improve its transport system.

The country in the last few years has witnessed many online shopping platforms, popular among them eShopAfrica.com Carmudi OLX Baahe.com Tisu Zoobashop Kaymu, Jumia among others.

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