MOSTAR, March 21 (FENA) – After a sharp increase in online purchases has been registered during the pandemic, this has led to a significant boom in online shopping all over the world, and citizens in the Federation of BiH ordered everything from groceries and ready meals to toilet paper and diapers.
According to available data from retailers, through their delivery services (webshops) and through platforms for fast delivery (courier services), sales of basic groceries, such as oil, flour, sugar, rice and pasta, and especially ready-made ones, grew the most, FENA learns from the FBiH Ministry of Trade.
Canned food (vegetables, fish, pâtés), frozen food, pizzas, pasta and vegetables, and baby food were also items most often purchased online.
There has also been an increase in the demand for hygiene supplies, including toilet paper and diapers, as well as cleaning and disinfecting agents.
In this period, the FBiH Ministry of Trade also recorded an increased number of inquiries related to online trade, both from consumers and retailers.
“The fact that this ministry received a large number of inquiries from consumers during the pandemic on how to exercise their consumer rights in online shopping, as well as retailers themselves about the conditions for online shopping, speaks volumes about the impact of the pandemic on new consumer habits and the need for retailers to introduce new digital services”, the Ministry states.
As they add, the provisions regulating sales on the basis of distance contracts are prescribed by the Consumer Protection Act.
According to one of the articles of that law, it is prescribed that the consumer has the right to withdraw from the distance contract within 15 days without costs and without explanation. In case of wanting to return the order, the consumer reimburses only the cost of returning the product.
The return-back period starts from the day when the consumer received the product, while in the case of provision of services the cancellation period starts from the day of concluding the contract.
When the consumer withdraws from the distance selling contract, the trader is obliged to return the amount of money paid without delay, and in any case within 15 days from the day when they received the written notice from the consumer.
Also, the trader is obliged to deliver the product or to provide the service within 15 days from the day when the consumer sent him the order. If the goods are not delivered within the agreed period, the consumer has the right to request a refund after leaving a reasonable period for subsequent delivery of the product or fulfillment of the service.
“When it comes to the legislation that regulates online trade, it is safe to say that consumers in BiH are sufficiently protected, but a noticeable lack of knowledge from consumers and traders on the legislation governing this area,” the Ministry concluded.