MARKET FAILURES IN E-COMMERCE AND THE NEED FOR CONSUMER PROTECTION IN NIGERIA

  • Majemite Daniel Uwanikone

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Laws

Abstract

Electronic commerce (e-commerce) is increasingly being adopted across the world as a convenient and beneficial form of transaction for the buying and selling of consumer goods and services. Whilst e-commerce is beneficial for transacting parties and the global economy, there are marketplace failures and risks that can potentially undermine its growth and economic prospects. These risks and failings of the electronic marketplace also undermine the confidence of consumers to engage with e-commerce because they consider e-commerce to be unsafe and unpredictable.

This thesis argues that consumers are not adequately protected when engaging with e-commerce in Nigeria which is one of Africa’s leading economies. The thesis illustrates this problem by using a market failure analysis to systematically outline specific risks and failings impacting on consumers engaging with e-commerce in Nigeria, and ascertaining the extent to which consumers are protected by market solutions and public regulation. The aim of this approach is to provide an evidence-based perspective for ascertaining the necessity of further interventions to protect consumers engaging with e-commerce in Nigeria, and to make some suggestions as to what these might be.

The thesis also draws lessons for effective regulation from international legal instruments like the United Nations Guidelines for Consumer Protection 2015 and the Recommendation on Consumer Protection in E-commerce 2016 by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). In a regional context, lessons are drawn from an analysis of European Union’s Consumer Law regime as a robust regulatory model for consumer protection. The Model Law for Consumer Protection in Africa 1996 and the Electronic Transaction Act 2010 of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) are also discussed to reflect notable regional interventions that could potentially benefit the development of Nigeria’s Consumer Law regime.

The findings from the analysis of Nigeria’s regime for consumer protection in e-commerce are discussed in the context of best practices and lessons for effective protection from notable international and regional legal instruments. The findings are also systematically analysed using the OECD Consumer Policy Toolkit 2010. The thesis concludes with a recommendation for regulatory intervention in Nigeria that comprises a hybrid model of private and public enforcement mechanisms.
Date of Award2023
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorColin Reid (Supervisor) & Stuart Cross (Supervisor)

Keywords

  • consumer protection
  • e-commerce
  • market failures
  • regulation

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