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Working Group on Electronic Commerce and Consumers, Principles of Consumer Protection for Electronic Commerce: A Canadian Framework (1999) (full-text).
The principles were intended to guide the actions of businesses, consumers and governments within Canada in the development of a consumer protection framework for electronic commerce. The principles were drafted by a working group of representatives from Canadian businesses, consumer associations and governments, recognizing that a sound framework for consumer protection will promote consumer confidence and facilitate the acceptance and growth of electronic commerce.
The Framework was guided by the following concepts:
- equivalent protection: consumers should not be afforded any less protection than in other forms of commerce;
- harmonization: Canadian governments should strive to harmonize consumer protection laws; and
- international consistency: the Canadian consumer protection framework as a whole should be consistent with consumer protection principles established by bodies such as the OECD.
The Framework sets out the following eight principles:
- Consumers should be provided with clear and sufficient information to make an informed choice about whether and how to make a purchase.
- "Vendors" should take reasonable steps to ensure that the consumer's agreement to contract is fully informed and intentional.
- Vendors and "intermediaries" should respect the privacy principles set out in the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) International's Model Code for the Protection of Personal Information.
- Vendors and intermediaries should take reasonable steps to ensure that "transactions" in which they are involved are secure. Consumers should act prudently when undertaking transactions.
- Consumers should have access to fair, timely, effective and affordable means for resolving problems with any transaction.
- Consumers should be protected from unreasonable liability for payments in transactions.
- Vendors should not transmit commercial e-mail without the consent of consumers, or unless a vendor has an existing relationship with a consumer.
- Government, business and consumer groups should promote consumer awareness about the safe use of electronic commerce.