Ethical issues in online shopping Essay
In the case where a business buys from another business, the process is called business-to-business (BIB) inline shopping. The largest of these online retailing corporations are eBay and Amazon. Com, both based in the United States. The acceptance of the Internet by the business community in the mid 1 sass has resulted in a period Of extraordinary growth in global electronic communications. However, to ensure the longer-term success of e-Business there have been calls for an adequate enabling framework to be put in place, particularly of a legislative nature.
In past, technical issues were the main concerns of the e- Business companies. In present, many companies aim at creating the accessory commercial environment to stimulate the emergence of a global marketplace. The situation has changed yet again with the growth of the Internet, more specifically the Web. It is now common practice for companies to use the Web to advertise and promote their products and services, often including copies of product brochures, other promotional materials, and contact details.
In near future, e-Businesses will involve greater concerns for legislative actions to safeguard the interests of all consumers with a sound technology base and commercial infrastructure. The Internet has used significant challenges to the legal structure. Copyright infringement has come up against file-sharing technology, and privacy continues to be challenged by personalization mechanisms. The legal issues are of far more concern for those engaged in online commercial transactions over the Web than the more traditional business.
This is because in the case of traditional business interactions usually some previous negotiations have established a relationship between the trading parties, whereas online customers appear as spontaneous users usually with no such prior relationship having been established between buyer and seller. COMMON LEGAL DISAGREEMENTS ON THE INTERNET Disagreements on the Internet in an online shopping scenario occur often because of one of the following reasons: The customer pays, but the merchant does not deliver. The customer pays, but the merchant delivers the wrong goods or in less quantity or broken.
The customer pays, but the money does not arrive at the seller. The merchant delivers, but the customer refuses to pay. The merchant delivers, but the customer has not ordered anything. These are the most common issues between buyer and seller. In order to solve them, laws are in place to support one or the other. The problem that arises with the Internet is that other than in a local shop the buyer and the seller may be in two different countries, whereby the web server could be in a third country. The important thing for the courts to decide is where the business transaction has taken place.
Depending on the County where the transaction has taken place the laws are enforced LEGAL ISSUES The application of traditional law to the Internet is not always straightforward. The following four items are about privacy on the Internet, the others relate o the other areas of concern. I. Privacy Rights An individual’s right to privacy is not explicitly guaranteed by the businesses many times, but protection from government intrusion should be implicitly guaranteed. With widely usage of the Internet , the right to individual privacy moved beyond private property.
The Internet is currently a self regulated medium. The Internet industry essentially governs itself. This condition enables the Internet to grow without the constraints of legislation, but it also creates problems because there are few specific guidelines to follow. Many Internet companies collect users’ personal information as the users navigate through a site. Privacy advocates argue that these efforts violate individuals’ privacy rights. On the other hand, online marketers and advertisers suggest that, by recording the likes and dislikes of online consumers, online companies can better serve their users.
For example, if one purchases a ticket from Malaysia to England, the travel site might record this transaction. In the future, when a ticket goes on sale for the same flight, the Web site can inform the person. It is true that there are advantages of collecting users’ personal information as a marketing tactic and the methods used for collection. Nevertheless, there are thoughtful consequences as well. Consider a different scenario. For instance, in near future, Web sites providing health information to consumers could potentially share this information with third parties.
If one visits a Web site and download information on cancer, AIDS and other life-threatening diseases, this information could be distributed without your knowledge or permission. In this case, you could be left without a job. II. Users’ Privacy Protection Web users are able to take on falsified identities or use software to maintain secrecy on the Web. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has established five Core Fair Information Practices regarding online marketing tactics that involve gathering and using consumer information.
Consumers should be made aware that personal information will be collected. The consumer should have a say in how this information will be used. The consumer should have the ability to verify the information collected to ensure that it is complete and correct. The information collected should be secured. The Web site should be responsible for considering that these practices are followed. Not all sites carrying the mark of a security company make the effort to follow their privacy guidelines. It is still up to the organization to honor its stated privacy policies.
ISSUES AND DISADVANTAGES I. Fraud and security concerns. Given the lack of ability to inspect merchandise before purchase, consumers are at higher risk of fraud than face-to-face transactions. Merchants also risk fraudulent purchases using stolen credit cards or fraudulent repudiation of the online purchase. However, merchants face less risk from physical theft by using a warehouse instead of a retail storefront. Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption has generally solved the problem of credit card numbers being intercepted in transit between the consumer and the merchant.
However, one must still trust the merchant and employees not to use the credit card information subsequently for their own purchases, and not to pass the information to others. Also, hackers might break into a merchant’s web site and steal names, addresses and credit card numbers, although the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard is intended to minimize the impact of such breaches. Identity theft is still a concern for consumers. A number of high-profile break-ins in the sass has prompted some U. S. States to require disclosure to consumers when this happens.
Computer security has thus become a major concern for merchants and e-commerce service providers, who deploy countermeasures such as firewalls and anti-virus software to protect their networks. Ii. Fishing This is another danger, where consumers are fooled into thinking they are dealing with a reputable retailer, when they have actually been manipulated into feeding private information to a system operated by a malicious party. Denial of service attacks are a minor risk for merchants, as are server and network outages. Iii. Lack of full cost disclosure The lack of full cost disclosure may also be problematic.
While it may be easy to compare the base price of an item online, it may not be easy to see the total cost up front. Additional fees such as shipping are often not be visible until the final step in the checkout process. The problem is especially evident with cross-border purchases, where the cost indicated at the final checkout screen may not include additional fees that must be paid upon delivery such as duties and brokerage. Some services such as the Canadian based Wish attempts to include estimates of these additional cost, but nevertheless, the lack of general full cost disclosure remains a concern. V. Hands-on inspection Typically, only simple pictures and/or descriptions of the item are all a customer can rely on when shopping on online stores. If the customer does not have prior exposure to the item ‘s handling qualities, they will not have a full understanding of the item they are buying. However, written and video reviews are readily available from consumers who have purchased similar items in the past. These can be helpful for prospective customers but can also be based on personal preferences. Hence, reviews from other consumers may not reflect end-user satisfaction once the item has been received.
HOW TO OVERCOME Always use credit cards. Never use Debit cards as fraudsters will get access to your savings account details by hacking debit card details. While opting for online shopping, do not follow pop up links that often come alive on the computer screen. If you do follow pop ups and links provided in them, do not ever put in your personal information. Your identity will be misused for redundant purposes. It is advisable to use a separate online shopping mail account. Shop from names/brands that have previous buying/selling history on the web.
After you have completed a shopping transaction, avoid clicking on any link that asks you to confirm on any recent transaction you have made on a shopping website. These are definite Fishing scam mails. Investigate and check thoroughly before purchasing anything online. If you do not trust the vendor do not make a move. Always use latest version of browser and web tools such as anti-spares, anti-mallards, anti-viruses and firewalls for our computer if you are a frequent online shopper. Check the Feedback function of the website as a proper website will always provide useful buyer information on recent transactions.
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