MONTREAL, March 14, 2018 /CNW Telbec/ - The sharing economy results in many benefits, but it also involves great challenges, mainly in terms of consumer protection. With whom does the consumer using an online sharing economy platforms (OSEP) conclude a contract? What are his rights and remedies when something goes wrong? What about civil liability? Insurance?
In the study released today, Option consommateurs sought answers to these questions by reviewing the laws, but also by analyzing the terms and conditions of the agreement offered by several OSEPs. It identified the protections provided by the platforms to users and collected data from 1,000 Canadian consumers about their perceptions and knowledge on the sharing economy.
First observation: An OSEP user who seeks to exercise his rights will face a significant challenge because he entered two contracts - one with the OSEP and another one with the provider of goods or services, and each contract has its own unique features. "Even for an attorney, it's hard to have a clear picture," says Me Annik Bélanger-Krams.
The Option consommateurs study also reveals that consumer protection laws are not always adapted to the sharing economy. "These laws only apply to transactions between a consumer and a merchant, says the lawyer. However, in the context of the sharing economy, the one who provides the service is not always a merchant. Not to mention that some areas may not regulated under this Act, such as short-term housing rentals, or the Act limits greatly its scope of application."
Another problem is that OSEPs claim to offer service without warranty and deny all forms of liability. To justify themselves, they define their activities as a matchmaking service. "Such platforms do a lot more than that," says Me Bélanger-Krams. However, their level of responsibility has not been decided by the courts." Often, they also limit consumers' remedies. "Such practice conflicts with some provincial legislation and violates their right to access to justice."
For more information : https://option-consommateurs.org/sharing-economy-many-grey-areas/?lang=en
SOURCE Option consommateurs
For further information: Elise Thériault, tel.: 514 777-6133