With the Fourth Industrial, i.e. Digital Revolution, we have a chance to make up for lagging behind and catch up with more developed countries. This technological revolution will fundamentally change our lives, it is inevitable and unstoppable. Only winning societies choose to welcome changes, they do not averse from them. The Serbian Government believes that Serbia is ready to lead the entire region in changes that will follow and creation of new possibilities for all. The digitization process will enhance the standard and quality of life for hundreds of thousands of Serbian citizens. Efficiency will be increased, costs will be reduced and new value will be created in almost all areas of life and work. The digitization process is the most important catalyst of innovations, competitiveness and growth.
E-commerce is becoming an increasingly popular form of purchasing goods and services among the citizens of the Republic of Serbia. The number of internet users in the Republic of Serbia is undoubtedly growing day by day. This is not surprising, given the fact that nowadays owning a smart phone is almost taken for granted and that the former obstacles to its use, both financial and technical, are almost non-existent. In addition to the significant number of consumers who buy goods/services online, the key in this area is that citizens must know how to protect their rights when shopping online.
The first step is to check who they are buying the product from. The method of protection of consumer rights depends on whether the trader is from the Republic of Serbia, that is, whether he is registered in the Republic of Serbia or abroad.
- In the case of an online purchase from a merchant registered in the Republic of Serbia, the consumer enjoys all the rights guaranteed by the Law on Trade and the Law on Consumer Protection. Therefore, before ordering goods, citizens should request registration information from the merchant and check it on the website of the Business Registers Agency. In disputed situations, the consumer can turn to the market inspection, consumer associations or protect his rights before the competent court in the Republic of Serbia.
- If it is a natural person who trades illegally, the consumer is not protected, but if they have any information about the “trader”, they can send a report to the market inspection.
- In the case when the consumer buys goods from a trader from abroad, the rights they can exercise depend on the specific guarantees provided by the trader or the online platform that mediates the trade. According to international law, in disputed situations, the law of the country where the seller is registered applies.
A consumer who buys goods online has the legal right to change his mind, cancel the purchase and return the goods to the trader within 14 days from the day of delivery, without explanation or stating the reason, and the trader is obliged to return the money. The consumer does not have this legal right if he bought the goods in the merchant’s sales facility (offline purchase).
E-commerce is an indicator of business sophistication and a way to enter new markets. Companies in the Republic of Serbia emphasize the importance of e-commerce in large numbers, and most of them agree that the importance of e-commerce as a business channel will increase on a global level, as well as that the same will happen when it comes to the Republic of Serbia. A large number of companies have their own website, and the number of electronic stores that offer the option of online payment is also increasing.
E-commerce in the Republic of Serbia is improving and developing further. The development of the digital economy, and therefore the development of electronic commerce, is one of the government’s priorities. Accordingly, work is being done to improve all segments in the field of e-commerce (strengthening consumer confidence in online shopping, strengthening the position of e-merchants, improving logistics flows, promoting electronic payments, etc.).