Meeting with a lawyer number five: E-commerce rightsIn the fifth of a series offering help with legal issues, Jeju-based lawyer Moon Geon-sik takes a look at your rights when buying things through e-commerce platforms.
▲ Jeju based lawyer Moon Geon-sik Photo by Moon Geon-sik
In this month’s meeting with a lawyer article, we take a look at your rights when buying products online.
Our example involves the story of a young lady with skin trouble.
She is tall and slim and is due to get married in a few weeks. One day, while browsing the internet, she discovers a health food supplement that is advertised as being really good for skin problems.
She contacted a seller that she found on a website and he showed her some convincing pictures of people who saw big improvements to their skin after using the supplement.
Convinced by these pictures she paid three million won for the supplement on her credit card, although she didn’t write a contract with the seller.
After receiving the products she started using the health food supplement. However, they didn’t help and her skin problem got worse and worse. She was upset and angry so she visited a lawyer to solve the problem.
In the above case, the relevant laws include the laws for installment transactions, e-commerce and also mail order sales. Because of this, to solve the problem we need to look at the Installment Transaction Act and the Act on Consumer Protection in Electronic Commerce Transactions.
E-commerce is the name for a sales transaction, usually made by credit card, through an internet shopping mall. On the other hand, mail order sales are when you use something like a catalog or TV home shopping and contact the person to receive the product. Often cases can be applied to e-commerce and mail order sales laws at the same time.
Installment transactions can tempt customers to buy things on impulse. At the same time online marketing can also lead customers to buy unwanted products due to exaggerated advertisements.
Because of this, according to the law buyers have a seven day cooling off period, starting from the day you receive your products, where you can return what you bought. If you decide to return the product during this time you will be able to get all your money back.
Of course, some products like food do not have this cooling off period. Likewise, you will not be able to return products you have used or worn.
Another important point to sonsider is, the right to a written contract.
In the case of installment transactions and mail order sales, the seller must provide a contract to the buyer.
This contract will include the name of the company and the CEO, the price of the product, refund terms and information about the cooling off period etc. If there isn’t one the seller can be fined up to five million won.
Going back to our original case, the seller didn’t provide a contract to the customer.
Eventually, the young lady had her three million won returned because the seller didn’t want to pay the fine for not making a contract.
As more and more people are using the internet, messaging apps and delivery services to sell or buy products, anyone planning to get involved in e-commerce should know the relevant regulations.
Please look at your contract carefully and don’t forget, if you are unsure of your product, you have the right for a seven day cooling off period.
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