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The Effectiveness of Laws in Guaranteeing Supply of Conformity of Good

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It is interesting to bring to knowledge that the industrial revolution brought numerous changes in technological advancement and technology products. Despite these changes, consumers faced and are still facing tremendous problems caused by technology products. This is certainly due to the fact that consumers of technology products have little or no knowledge about the production process and the laws on consumer protection. Like the rest of the world, Cameroon has a law on Consumer Protection1[1].  Despite the existence of this law, the paper contends that consumers of technology goods are not adequately protected by the law due to the loopholes in the law. Findings to this research reveal that users and consumers of technology products thread on dangerous grounds as there exists high rates of computer crime and the circulation of low-quality products. Most importantly, the paper found that the law is very sparse as it does not regulate on sensitive issues like cyber security, the media space and the installation of pylons, masts and antennas.

E-commerce is the sale or purchase of goods or services conducted over computer networks by methods specifically designed for the purpose of receiving or placing of orders[2]. These trade activities need a specific platform. For that, we realise that « E-commerce is the future of trade because of technology »[3] said. The technology concern is computers, network connection, and technician. These actions refer to virtual transactions. That means that e-commerce implies electronic transactions including buying, selling, transferring or exchanging products, services and/or information, which can take place between different types of actors namely individuals, enterprises, governments and civil society organisations (Alyoubi , 2015). The transactions can be done through the use of desktop, mobile devices, tablets and smartphones. Throughout the literature, the definition of e-commerce considers five features namely: information sharing, the use of technology, buy-sell transaction, monetary transaction and competition (Goyal, Sergi, and Esposito, n.a). With globalization and the development of Internet, e-commerce is more and more present in our daily life. The different types of e-commerce include the Business to

Increased use of computers, Internet and other information and communication technology (ICT) tools have led to tremendous changes in the practices of commerce[4]. ICT-enabled mechanisms have engendered a vast electronic marketplace for the conclusion of contracts for sale of goods and services. The global e-commerce system draws much of its power from the savings it enables in terms of cost, time, distance, and efficiency[5]. Internet-enabled e-commerce is allowing for continuous changes in the way companies do business[6]. Accordingly, if e-commerce is to fulfill its economic empowerment potential, legal systems do need to be adjusted so as to accommodate the emerging business practices.

A core difficulty is that distance selling in the course of e-transactions in the cyberspace was never envisaged by the legislator of the traditional law of contracts[7]. Purchasing goods or services on this basis does mean that it is difficult for the customer to examine them prior to concluding a contract[8]. The principles of law of contracts are old, shaped for a world of ink and paper[9]. Their transplantation in e-commerce contract formation raises numerous questions. Specifically, it is crucial to have clear legal entitlements for online expression of an offer, and online acceptance of an offer, in order to preserve contract enforceability.

In this thesis, the researcher set out some of the issues at play for E-commerce contract stipulations in the new environment of electronic commerce. The researcher then give a sense of how the African regional inter-governmental legal organisation, the Organisation pour l’Harmonisation  en Afrique du Droit des Affaires (OHADA, the Organisation for the Harmonisation of Business Law in Africa), has engaged with e-commerce matters to date, followed by consideration of how one OHADA Member State, Cameroon, has engaged at national level. I then identify gaps that will need to be addressed by lawmakers at either OHADA or Cameroonian national level in order for e-commerce to achieve its full potential as a source of economic empowerment in Cameroon.

The rules of ethics and contractual loyalty in business agreements require that the parties to a contract must have received full knowledge of the terms of the offer before giving their agreement. Such rules can become strained in the context of online contract formation for online transactions. Face-to-face interaction in the course of formation of business agreement in the paper-based environment is susceptible to fewer mistakes than in the online environment.

Online business transactions make use of the Internet or other electronic media in the pre-contractual period of negotiation. During this period, the two parties, the seller and the buyer, have potentially conflicting interests. These contrasting interests coupled with distance and online impersonalisation have the potential to make it difficult for parties to the agreement to determine precisely whether the offer (or acceptance), as electronically expressed, clearly reflects the intent of the other party. Because of the foregoing, it is important for legislation to take into account the issues peculiar to online commercial contracts, during which, among other things, consumers are potentially exposed to fraudulent practices[10].

One example of a fraught issue is whether a click on an icon on the website of a vendor – in the case, for example, of click-through agreements (also known as “click-wrap agreements”) – can qualify as unequivocal assent. In other words, is the consumer bound into an online contract by clicking on an icon provided on a trader’s website? This question has been raised before numerous courts.

E-commerce, being trade, is governs by trade laws and regulations in Cameroon. Due to the channel it uses, there are some laws and regulations, which are specific to it. It is the law n°2010/021 of 21 December 2010 that governs e-commerce in Cameroon and its implementing provisions are laid down in the decree n° 2011/1521/PM of 11 June 2011. The e-commerce legal framework covers many points namely the setting up of a contract between a consumer and a seller in the context of e-commerce business, the consumers’ protection, security and dispute settlement mechanism

1.2 Statement of the problem

Despite of the regulations put in place to govern online transactions in Cameroon there still exist an outcry by buyers complaining about goods they received not conforming to the contract stipulations as agreed by the sellers. As a result of their situations, online buyers are exposed to sub-standard good which do not respect the contractual terms.

Another wrong reality to the Conformity of good sold through Electronic commerce transactions in Cameroon is orchestrated by unscrupulous ciber offenders who usually misrepresent the quality of the good they claim to sale to the online buyers.

This study there for setout to examine the effectiveness of the provisions of the laws in gauranteeing the Conformity of good received by online buyers as agreed to the contractual terms agreed by online sellers

1.3 Research questions

1.3.1 Main Research question

  • How effective are the laws in guaranteeing Conformity of good sold via Electronic Commerce transactions in Cameroon

1.3.2 Specific Research questions

  • What is the concept and notion of Conformity in e-commerce contract in Cameroon?

  • What are the reasons for the respect of Conformity of good?

  • What are the various legal challenges and extra legal challenges?

  • What are the remedies available to the aggrieve party that’s the consumers?

1.4 Objectives of the study

1.4.1 Main Objective

  • To critically examine the effectiveness of laws in guaranteeing supply of Conformity of good
    • Specific Research objectives
  • To discuss the concept and notion of Conformity in e-commerce contract in Cameroon
  • To examine the reasons for the respect of Conformity of good
  • To identify the various legal challenges and extra legal challenges
  • To look at the remedies available to the aggrieve party that’s the consumers

FURTHER READINGS: The legal guarantees for the uniform application of the United Nation Convention for the International Sale of Goods


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