Brazil: The E-Commerce And The Brazilian Experience

Last Updated: 15 February 2016
Article by Daniel Pitanga

The e-commerce has been growing around the world and challenging the law, mainly because of the international nature of substantial portion of transactions related to online sales. Accordingly to eMarketer, B2C e-commerce shall reach US$ 1.471 trillion in 2014, increasing nearly 20% over 2013, reaching US$ 2.356 trillion in 2018. On the other hand, Asia-Pacific is expecting to become the leading region for ecommerce sales in 2015, representing 33.4% of the market, compared with 31.7% in North America and 24.6% Western Europe. Brazil, in turn, is tops when it comes to ecommerce sales in Latin America, accounting for US$ 23.35 Billion.

In Brazil, the e-commerce has been increasing year by year, making it an attractive market for investors and, on the other side, challenging the legislation currently in force in our country. The rise of the new Brazilian middle class beside the progressive growth of internet users indicates further increase of online sales in the coming years.

The first Brazilian e-commerce store was created in 1996 and was specialized in book sales. From 1996 to these days an exponential demand for e-commerce has been growing in Brazil whether for goods or service. The speed of development is impressive and it must be accompanied by an implementation of a legal framework compatible with the major importance of the e-commerce.

Concerning the legal framework for internet issues, 2014 will be remarkable for Brazil, since Brazilian Congress passed the Internet Civil Landmark (Law No. 12.965/2014). It establishes a large range of rights to the internet users and obligations to internet providers. Nowadays, no one should make business in Brazil without a deeply knowledge of its rights and obligations. However, there is still a lack of regulation for some themes which has been debating by the Brazilian Congress, including the protection and treatment of personal data (Bill No. 4.060/2012) and the general guidelines and rules for the development and exploration activity of cloud computing in Brazil (Bill No. 5.344/2013). It means that the issues arising in the internet field and related to personal data or cloud computing in our country must be solved according to the general civil rules as well as to the recent Internet Civil Landmark.

Regarding the e-commerce issues specifically, it is usually treated in Brazil in the field of consumer law. Statute No. 8.078/90 (Consumer Defense Code) has been applied by Brazilian Courts for years, adapting the digital facts to the context of the face-to-face and distance selling commerce. Fortunately, in 2013, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff issued the Decree No. 7.962/13 which regulates the Statute No. 8.078/90 to provide for the hiring in e-commerce.

Decree No. 7.962/13 has 10 articles and summarizes principles as well as main rules shall be observed by e-commerce companies. In this sense, the Decree provides that companies shall transmit clear information about products, services and supplier, shall facilitate assistance to the customer, and shall respect the consumer's right to cancel the hiring. Beside this rights, e-commerce websites shall provide a wide range of information related to the products or services offered, including business name and registration number of the supplier (whether applies) in the National Register of Persons or the National Register of Legal Entities from the Ministry of Finance, physical and electronic address, and other information necessary for their location and contact, essential characteristics of the product or service, including risks to health and consumer safety, among others. Furthermore, the supplier shall provide a draft of the contract before hiring, with the information needed for the full exercise of consumer choice, emphasized the clauses that limit rights. Moreover, the Decree No. 7.962/13 assures cancellation rights to consumers, providing the legal obligation of the supplies to inform it clearly and ostensible. The failure in the compliance with the Decree may result in application of penalties provided in Consumer Defense Code.

It is important to highlight that Decree No. 7.962/13 only applies for consumer relations which are defined in Brazilian Law as the legal relation where the contracting party (consumer) is the final receiver of the goods or services. It means that Decree No. 7.962/13 does not apply for any relationship between companies and/or dealers.

The e-commerce has been growing around the world and especially in Brazil. It demonstrates new platforms to the development and expansion of online sales, as well as new trends in this field. Recent changes in the Brazilian legislation will undoubtedly guarantee a more efficient market to investors.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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