In 2017, over 1.6 million people in Serbia purchased online, and in the last five years, e-commerce has seen a steady growth, says the Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications.
State Secretary at the Ministry, Tatjana Matic told Tanjug that it was important for people to be familiar with all of their consumer rights when shopping online. She says that the Ministry will start an educational campaign in summer which will focus on the positive examples from the practice and the consumer protection rights that shoppers are insufficiently familiar with.
In order to prevent fraud, Matic says that it is important that online shoppers, before ordering goods online, check whether a vendor is registered in Serbia or on foreign platforms.
“There is a big difference in the legal sense in terms of exercising consumers’ rights whether the vendor is registered in Serbia or in some other countries,” adds Matic.
If a shopper buys from a registered vendor in Serbia, they can expect that their rights as consumers will be protected in case of injuries. Matic also says that, unfortunately, there are situations when citizens buy from online platforms that are not registered.
“In this case, consumer rights cannot be protected because the trader is not registered and the whole case then comes under the scam domain. This can be reported to the Ministry of Interior, namely the the High-Tech Crime Department,” Matic explains.
Matic adds that shoppers don’t really know that when they order goods from a registered vendor with an electronic platform in Serbia, they have the right to return the bought goods within 14 days from the purchase, without having to state the reason for the return, and get their money back.
Also, she says there is a possibility that shopper, if previously agreed with the seller or the sender, can open the package with the ordered product in the presence of a postman and make sure that the product is really what they ordered.
“If it does not correspond to what you have ordered, you have the right to return it immediately. You are not obligated to take that product,” says Matic.
In terms of foreign shopping platforms and electronic purchases from other countries, Matic says that the general recommendation is that shoppers choose those platforms that are already known and that provide absolute protection to consumers.
“Many of them are very well-known like Aliexpress which is one of the more prominent platforms that adequately protects its customers and users,” says Matic, adding that foreign platforms have earned the trust of a large number of shoppers because they allow quick and easy customer complaints and respect their consumer rights.
Online shopping makes up more than 10 percent of the world’s total trade, while in China it exceeds 19 percent.
(Gde Investirati, 02.05.2018)
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