Civil Liability of Online Stores in Iranian Law and a Comparative Case Study in the European Union

Article Type:
Research/Original Article (دارای رتبه معتبر)

Today, online stores sell goods and services through online contracts, exchanging emails with the other party, or filling out a specific form on the website by one party. Online contracts may be executed by presenting the terms of the contract to one party and then asking the applicant to click on the words "I agree" or something similar. The number of consumers who use online platforms to fulfill their shopping needs has increased, and online stores have responsibilities for the intermediary role and the platform they provide for online buying and selling. From the legal point of view, two types of contractual or non-contractual responsibilities can be considered for these stores. Currently, these types of internet businesses are very popular among users, but in any case, we should look for a space to increase the security of this type of service and secure it, while taking care of and protecting consumer rights; because at present, with the very wide growth of this type of websites and online stores in different fields, we have witnessed the provision of services in the fields of sports, culture and leisure, electronic devices such as audio and visual devices, household, personal and office, real estate and land, vehicles, services and training, supplies and business, and even recruitment and employment or expression of job opportunities, etc. Since online platforms often act as "gateways to control and limit interactions in a system", the first question is whether online platforms and online stores can still be considered simply as intermediaries or should they be suppliers. The second question is whether platforms, as dominant channels in the market, may be held liable to their customers for infringements caused primarily by platform suppliers. Finally, the third question is whether there is a necessary connection between the first and second questions, namely that the platform operator may be held liable to its customers while it may not be treated as a mere intermediary, it may be treated as a supplier of goods and services provided by Platform Providers. Regarding the activity of online stores and their responsibility for their actions or others, it cannot be assumed that they are not absolutely responsible. The important issue is that in online shopping, the buyer makes a transaction that the seller has not seen closely, therefore, the necessity of such purchases, due to its nature, requires more support from the buyer. Because in such transactions, the buyer does not have detailed information about the seller of the goods, their credit, and the transaction, and the burden of the purchase risk is on the shoulders of the buyer. For this reason, as well as for the specialization of the subject and its great application and importance, in this research, an attempt will be made to examine the civil liability of online stores in the laws of Iran and the European Union. In relation to the foundations of civil responsibility of online stores, the theory of fault should be accepted as the main basis of civil responsibility in the laws of Iran and the European Union. In fact, where the providers of their Internet services and goods commit harmful acts, their liability is still based on fault. However, regarding the responsibility of internet sellers, you can also refer to other bases. The important thing about online stores is that concluding a sales contract through the internet in this category of stores should not create doubt that online stores are not subject to the general rules of civil liability. On the contrary, it should be stated that such stores are subject to general rules regarding civil liability rules; because buying or selling through online stores differs from traditional contracts in only a few specific cases; the most important of which is the method of concluding a contract. In other words, except for a few minor cases, in other cases, buying from an online store is not much different from buying from a real store; therefore, in relation to the civil liability of online stores, two types of liability can be realized, contractual and non-contractual liability. This type of separation in civil liability has been accepted both in the civil law of Iran and in the civil law of the European Union. On the other hand, in order to realize the civil liability of online stores in two areas of contractual and non-contractual liability, certain conditions are necessary. So in the field of contractual liability, the existence of a valid contract, breach of contract, and the existence of damage caused by the breach of contract are necessary, and in the field of non-contractual liability of the online store, the occurrence of loss, harmful action and the relationship of causation is necessary. It is suggested that cyberspace and internet stores are very suitable for millions of jobs. On the other hand, the Internet is a useful tool for marketing various services. In this regard, the creation of up-to-date and applicable laws as well as the amendment of existing laws are more important than ever. For this reason, it is suggested that, especially in Iranian law, laws in the field of online stores should be formulated in a specific way, and in these laws, the civil liability of this type of store should be determined clearly, inspired by the principles of civil responsibility and not limited to accepting one of the opinions and principles. Laws that, in addition to preventing the occurrence of computer crimes, should provide the opportunity for legal internet businesses to operate and grow, and this means that the laws are fair. In addition to the definition of platforms, the law that is developed for this purpose should include the providers and users of the internet platform for the purpose of electronic commerce, the law that is formulated for this purpose must state the criteria and criteria accepted in the legal analysis, of course, a mechanism for the purpose of floating the bon and the ability to generalize the criteria. Claims between parties (both platform, supplier, and user) should be considered. Also, the cases where the rules related to transactions do not respond to the new needs are written and govern the relations of the parties.

Journal of Private Law, Volume:12 Issue: 44, 2024
255 to 284  
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