The home confinement to which we were forced between March and June 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic caused in our country a spectacular increase in purchases through digital media, both through web pages and mobile applications or social networks, that have since set historical records in this “new normal”. If in 2019 the size of the digital economy in Spain was close to 19% of GDP and placed us above most other countries in the world – according to a report by the Spanish Association of the Digital Economy (Adigital) and the Boston Consulting Group -, in 2020 the new consumption habits placed Spain in third place globally among the markets where electronic commerce grew the most, reaching a 36% increase, only surpassed by Argentina and Singapore, according to what was published by the Business Insider financial information page.
Among many other relevant changes in our daily lives, the coronavirus and the prevention measures promoted by the competent authorities have kept us from going to public spaces, especially closed premises, and has led us to manage a multitude of operations from home. that, before the pandemic, we carried out in person by going to the corresponding establishments. Let’s think, for example, how many of us had never been encouraged to do the shopping on-line, and we begin to familiarize ourselves during the state of alarm with the web pages or with the mobile applications of the supermarkets so that we do not have to leave our home.
The increasing digitization of our activity as consumers has, however, some risks that should be anticipated, especially when you have little experience as an Internet user or are not a regular shopper in online stores. Thus, among the main risks of trade on-line there’s the emergence of fake websites, fake seller profiles, and unreliable payment methods. The extraordinary development experienced by electronic commerce in the last year has led to the proliferation of operators and it is important to be cautious and be adequately informed to avoid that our rights as consumers are trampled. In fact, the National Institute of Statistics points out among the main reasons for not buying online the concern about privacy or security in payment and the lack of skill or knowledge when carrying out the transaction.
In Spain there are three major regulations that protect our rights as users of electronic commerce: the LOPD (Organic Law on Data Protection), the LSSI (Law of Information Society Services) and the LGDCU (General Law for the Defense of Consumers and Users).
In general, the basic rights of consumers and users are:
a) Protection against risks that may affect your health or safety.
b) The protection of their legitimate economic and social interests, in particular against unfair commercial practices and the inclusion of abusive clauses in contracts.
c) Compensation for damages and compensation for damages.
d) The correct information about the different goods or services and their proper use, consumption or enjoyment.
e) Participation in the procedure for drawing up the regulations that directly affect them and the representation of their interests, through legally constituted consumer and user associations.
f) The protection of their rights through effective procedures, especially in relation to vulnerable consumers.
In relation, in particular, with users of electronic commerce, the LSSI – which was published in 2002 – already foresaw that “the introduction of the Internet and new technologies encounters some legal uncertainties, which must be clarified with the establishment of an adequate legal framework, which generates in all the intervening actors the confidence necessary for the use of this new medium ”. In this sense, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs recalls on its website that in commerce on-line the consumer In no case can you expect or receive less protection than what the current regulations in traditional forms of commerce dispense..
Thus, anyone who makes an online purchase has the right to access by electronic means, permanently, easily, directly and free of charge, the following information:
1. The name or company name of the seller or service provider, address, NIF (tax identification number) and contact information: telephone, email address and any other means that allows direct and effective communication, as well as the data of your registration in the Registry Trade.
2. In the event that your activity is subject to prior administrative authorization (for example, a Lottery administration), the data related to said authorization and the competent body to supervise it.
3. The codes of conduct to which it is adhered and the way to consult them electronically.
4. The price of the product or service, indicating whether or not it includes applicable taxes and, where appropriate, shipping costs.
5. The payment, delivery and execution procedures.
6. Reminder of guarantee applicable.
7. The duration of the contract.
8. The language or languages in which it can be formalized.
9. The existence of right of withdrawal.
10. The functionality of digital content, as well as the interoperability relevant between the digital content and the devices or programs necessary for its operation.
11. The procedure to attend the claims and information about the extrajudicial conflict resolution system.
12. The costs and the return period.
Looking ahead, one of the great trends in electronic commerce will be the creation by operators of more flexible payment methods, among which, according to the Study of Payment Methods and Online Fraud 2020 of Adigital, now the bank card (92%), transfers (75%) and the PayPal payment gateway (68%) predominate, although Bizum (14%) and billing through mobile devices (37%) are gaining positions.
In this area, the regulations established by the Payment Services Directive 2 (PSD2) incorporates new forms of payment and requires, to guarantee the security of operations, a double authentication system. As stated on its website by BBVA, this system forces you to apply 2 or 3 factors to choose from: one thing that the user knows (for example, the password), one that he or she has (for example, the mobile phone) and another that is (for example, fingerprint or face). It will no longer be valid with the first as before, but two will be necessary, the use of biometrics being one of the most complex elements to violate because it is unique to each person.