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Over 70% of Nigerians are afraid of shopping online – CPC

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The Consumer Protection Council, CPC, has stated that “E-commerce is the way of the future and a catalyst to economic growth” but regretted that over 70 per cent of Nigerians are still skeptical of online shopping which is worth $2.3 trillion globally.

The Director General of CPC, Mr. Babatunde Irukera, made this known yesterday at the commemoration of the World Consumer Right Day 2018, themed “Making the digital market places fairer”.

He pointed out that the focus of this year’s commemoration is on the current experiences of consumers on the online market place.

“One important thing that has come out of this meeting is that for the very first time, we as a regulator and then as a group with these key companies in the space, have adopted certain principles. These principles are what we recognise as important in the market place. It is a very important starting point in providing what we look forward to being a more structural and institutionalised regulatory regime for E-commerce, that would certainly increase consumer satisfaction. And diminish consumer aggravation.

“In view of the dramatic rise in E-Commerce in Nigeria, with global online shopping reaching $2.29 trillion in 2017, but with 70 per cent of Nigerian Consumers worried about the safety of their transactions, the Consumer Protection Council and Senior Management of Online Marketing Companies understand the nature and scope of complaints generated in this space,” the DG said.

Irukera stated that the Council and Online Marketing Companies adopted certain fundamental guiding principles which are considered vital to the protection of consumers in the industry and relevant to Business Guidance and a Regulatory framework.

He listed them to include that: Online marketers recognise that a dedicated customer service apparatus, which is an indispensable corollary of e-commerce, is required to ensure engagement and a complaint resolution process which is not burdensome to the customer; and that Online market platforms recognise the importance of full frank and complete disclosures of any terms, conditions, exceptions or restrictions on products marketed on their platforms.

The principles also stated: “Online marketers also recognise the need to promote consumer confidence and eliminate distrust. Advertisement of products should be truthful, transparent and factual, including current/future availability, specifications, merchantable conditions, quality and relevant warranty information.

“Online market platforms recognise that timely delivery is a material and vital term of the contract/ agreement between platforms and their customers. As such, timely delivery including reasonable and fair return windows, prompt and efficient refunds and respect for cancellations in accordance with prevailing policy, are a matter of contractual obligations.

“Online marketers recognise and respect the privacy of consumers and the need to protect such privacy by securing and only disclosing consumer data/personal information by operation of law or in accordance with consumer preferences.”

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