Electronic commerce and private international law

Electronic commerce and private international law

The convergence of technologies in the areas of telecommunications, information technology and computing, together with a general trend towards the liberalisation of trade and domestic deregulation of several industries, have combined to create favourable conditions for electronic commerce. The speed of communications between parties, the distance between participants to a transaction and the continuously changing identity and nature of relationships between often unknown participants and a host of new intermediaries, have emphasised the need for a compensating level of clarity as to which law applies and which court decides in disputes on electronic commerce. Work towards common frameworks has been undertaken by a number of international organisations; the Model Law by the UN is deemed by your Editor to be the best example of an undertaking to simplify and facilitate transactions, but little else has been settled that would contribute to helping resolve the many questions raised in electronic commerce. Work at the regional level, for example that by the European Union, has been bold and enlightened in many respects, but it is mostly driven by the need to avoid impeding the development of the internal single market and with a view to protecting the consumer, rather than setting standards for problem avoidance and resolution at the international level. The international nature of electronic commerce requires international steps to be taken; writing law at the national or regional level is likely to be partial to the local interests, cultures and expectations from transactions; such interests will make more difficult the full utilisation of the enabling power of the new technologies.

As with any idea or development deemed to be new, a lot of publicity has been generated on the potential of electronic means to revolutionise the way relationships are managed, particularly in the area of business and commerce. Statistics from leading organisations can be interpreted in a variety of ways: some would suggest that the e-bubble has burst, others would lead to the conclusion that the change will be momentous. What cannot be predicted is when and how the impact will affect individual sectors of the economy. Some have related the e-impact to a meteorite hitting the earth; others have suggested that the transformation will be more gradual and that it will take a decade or so before a significant change can be measured. Indeed, in several sectors of the economy, the ‘e’ has been more of a fad or a fashion than a meteorite colliding with the planet. Yet, in financial services, just as is the case in other sectors of the economy, the e-penetration of the market is accelerating, not only as a result of new products being made available, but also as a direct consequence of the diffusion of e-mail and Internet access across the globe. This leads an ever increasing proportion of the population to experiment or to discover a redefined need . . . something that without electronic connections they might not have realised they ever wanted! For some customers, the ‘e’ is one of many alternatives, in which case established marketing and consumer behaviour theories can readily help to structure the decision-making process. For other customers, the ‘e’ is not an option, it is increasingly the only way to do business. In an earlier editorial, the push from banks to reduce the incidence of personal visits to a branch and the use of financial penalties for that purpose was highlighted. On the pull side, insurance, deposit accounts, airline tickets and even annual tax returns offer financial incentives for transacting by electronic means. Add to these e-mail services with the telephone, Internet connections via the television set and the mushrooming of cybercafes, some of these free of charge in large department stores, and the ‘e’ becomes much more embedded into the fabric of society. This is why the question of which law applies and which court decides remains, according to your Editor, among the central issues that will either facilitate or slow down the transformation spoken about. These are areas where there can be conflict and, given the frontierless nature of e-mail and the Internet, they reside in private international law and require effort at that level, rather than purely at national or regional confines.


Representative APR 391%

Let's say you want to borrow $100 for two week. Lender can charge you $15 for borrowing $100 for two weeks. You will need to return $115 to the lender at the end of 2 weeks. The cost of the $100 loan is a $15 finance charge and an annual percentage rate of 391 percent. If you decide to roll over the loan for another two weeks, lender can charge you another $15. If you roll-over the loan three times, the finance charge would climb to $60 to borrow the $100.

Implications of Non-payment: Some lenders in our network may automatically roll over your existing loan for another two weeks if you don't pay back the loan on time. Fees for renewing the loan range from lender to lender. Most of the time these fees equal the fees you paid to get the initial payday loan. We ask lenders in our network to follow legal and ethical collection practices set by industry associations and government agencies. Non-payment of a payday loan might negatively effect your credit history.

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