Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Problems encountered when shopping online

In this entry, I want to discuss possible problems that the current law fails to address when shopping online. Should we exercise Caveat Emptor? Or does the law have something to do with this? Should it try to regulate?

Many people I know (at least those around my age) have already tried shopping online. Thank God I haven’t been included in the so-called victims who pay yet never get the item. Since I started shopping online (I use Paypal by the way), I’m quite confident that I will receive my item, although weeks late due to the inefficient postal system in our country. The problem however starts when the shopper resorts to prohibited actions. For example, in eBay, technically you have to bid. However, some sellers put in their mobile numbers or email addresses for faster transaction. Some accept cash on delivery but some require some prepayment of some sort. Here is where the problems begin. I admit that I am very confident in the thought of the purely automated payment process but when a live “middleman” gets involved, here is where problems start.

Another problem is knowing if the item you bought is, first, not stolen and second, if it is original. Some website offer forums where one can post the serial number of the stolen thing. However, most don’t. And even if it does, we don’t bother to check anyway. Also, with quality of counterfeit goods improving, it is hard to tell the difference between a genuine and a fake item.

I also noticed another problem. Several months ago, I ordered an item online. The seller told me that he already sent the item. After waiting for several months, I sent an email to the seller telling him that I haven’t received the item yet. Fortunately, he was more than willing to send another item. However, one month later or approximately four months from the time I ordered the item, the first item arrived! The second item which he sent after my complaint even arrived earlier. Of course I paid the seller for the second item and had to explain how things were in our country, which is why many online sellers refuse to sell and send packages to the Philippines, claiming that many packages are allegedly stolen.


Entry #3

John Joseph S. Parco

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