There is a need to outline various issues associated with business-to-consumer e-commerce as a modern platform for business transactions. E-Commerce, also known as electronic commerce, is a form of industry where buyers and sellers conduct business transactions via electronic fronts such as the internet. As the sales characteristic of e-business, e-commerce entails the exchange of information thus facilitating the financing and payment elements of transactions.
Lowe’s Companies Inc are an American dual-purpose corporation that deals in electronic appliances and home improvement products. Though it started as a physical entity in Wilkesboro North Carolina, Lowe’s has now incorporated its business activities and products into online retailing. Currently, the company is a multi-billion entity with over 1,700 stores spread across states in the US, Mexico, and Canada. The company operates as lowes.com, an online shopping site that allows designers and consumers to buy and sell an array of products worldwide. On its online platform, Lowe’s covers credit card standardized shopping, discounting, and product search via methods such as ISBN and brand name, among other services. Currently, Lowe’s comes after The Home Depot as the world and US’ second biggest hardware store.
Lowe’s Production Liability Action for Products Traded via the Internet
The perfect response to this concern lays in the assumption that items traded on lowes.com to consumers must be fit for intended purpose, of satisfactory quality, and as defined. If a sold product does not adhere to these criteria, the consumer has a right to demand for assistance within a specified period. For instance, a defective washing machine would be returnable within 90 days. Lowe’s insists that their consumers possess the ability to demand for recourse for defective products. It does so through the Returns and Refunds, and Protection Plan policies. They focus on utter consumer satisfaction in any product purchased from their store (Eisingerich & Kretschmer, 2009).
Consumers that discover production defects in their items usually contact the company for assistance and service appointment. Such repairs always fall under two categories. First, those covered by product warranty undergo repair at no cost to the consumer. However, services not covered in the warranty attract specialized attention by in house technicians at the consumers’ expense. In the event that consumers decide to return defective products, they may do so within 90 days from the day of purchase to nearby Lowe’s stores. However, accompanying them should be the return label incorporated in a majority of their parcel shipments. Upon intensive verification on product condition, the consumer makes a choice between item exchange and monetary refund (Miller & Cross, 2013).
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The Application of the Statute of Frauds in Lowe’s, Inc Online Trading
This statute suggests that for the law to consider business contracts as binding they must be in written form. This challenges the company’s move to conduct online transactions since there are usually no written contracts. However, their counter argument would be that the moment individuals agree to credit card payment system they are bound to make transactions as legal exceptions to this statute. Thus, consumers cannot unilaterally decide to go against such contracts. Overall, the company can trade anything online if it passes as a legal and certified brand. Illegal and restricted transactions involve the use of illegal products, documents, credit cards, and unwarranted/uncertified products (Miller & Cross, 2013).
Furthermore, the company, as a precautionary measure, reserves the legal rights to question the integrity and authenticity of transaction details prior to and upon purchase. Thus, it makes no transactions with individuals that possess questionable documents. Frequently, they may require that consumers show valid identification documents for any transaction to take place. Lowe’s uses payment verification and refund systems to ensure that the transactions are binding. The systems would go as far as to demand valid ID cars, signatures, consent, and contact details as legally authorized.
When Lowe’s, as an online brand, sells its products to a consumer, it requires that they go through their consumer care and protection policies. The terms and conditions state that consumers have the right to cancel contracts given certain circumstances. For instance, in situations where they do not provide the required information, consumers have a “cooling-off period” applicable from 7-90 working days depending on the product (Qin, 2009).
The Difference between the use of Generic Electronic and Digital Signatures at Lowe’s, Inc
Generic signatures are the kind that come as coded or fax messages. This could include hand written signature scans, or any form of electronically transmitted authenticity stamps. Thus, electronic signatures are a generic concept that encompasses numerous authenticity measures. Contrarily, in e-commerce, electronic signatures come as encryptions stored in a way that only the owner can access and allow other people to access them. They are also known as digital signatures commonly used during e-business transactions and e-contracts (Tkacz & Kapczynski, 2009).
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In 2010, a consumer claimed for a refund on a refrigerator he had bought from the company four months back. He suggested that he had the right to claim return it since he did not want it anymore and there was no legally binding document to seal the contract. However, the company had expanded its online transactions to include e-signatures. Through personalized consumer accounts, it creates an easy platform for consumers to track and store their purchase details (Tkacz & Kapczynski, 2009).
Because of their encrypted nature, digital signatures are more secure compared to e-signatures. Thus, they are not only immune to abuse, but also legally binding with similar weights as traditionally handwritten signatures. Thus, the company’s credit card payment system and e-signature capability assisted them in settling this case. They addressed pointers that showed that the consumer had committed breach of contract. Based on their terms, e-signatures placed on agreements made on the site are legally binding (Eisingerich & Kretschmer, 2009).
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Traditional Intellectual Property Protections to Lowe’s, Inc in e-Commerce
As earlier stated, Lowe.com Incorporated deals in the online distribution of a variety of electronics and home appliances. Their traditionally registered and protected brands include Kobalt, Blue Hawk, Project Source, Portfolio, Garden Treasures, Top Choice, Gatehouse, and Holiday Living among others. Since e-Businesses rely on an array of interactive contracts with their consumers, the use of traditional intellectual property rights in Lowe.com becomes a crucial concern. Online selling requires legal practices that involve a share of products belong to innovative designers. Moreover, online businesses work as intellectual brands that deserve protection from copycats. Traditional property rights regulators require that the companies advertise themselves as business entities with clear indications that their existence involves originality and legal transactions (Qin, 2009).
The traditional aim of copyright protection concentrates on encompassing a wide variety of creativity. Thus, most of the creative content that drives e-businesses is subject to traditional protection. Under the Berne Convention, intellectual property right protection encompasses all artistic and literal content. This concept involves various types of creativity such as technical texts, website domains, software, and writings among others. As the company seeks to go on international fronts, developments in the online community will make it possible for them to register their domains in non-ASCII characters. Indeed, Lowe.com is an original creation that offers style and innovation using services their consumers can rely on (Jonathan & Colston, 2010).
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In conclusion, as more products find their way onto the online platform, their creators become concerned about their rights to control their access and use channels. Indeed, increasing levels of cybercrime such as fraud and privacy makes such concerns a reality. Furthermore, existing traditional property rights may not offer the amount of protection that creator’s desire. In the end, they will all resort to alternative measures that are independent of traditional controls. For instance, in addition to being site locators, domain names serve as business identifiers. Thus, Lowe.com as a domain not only offers originality, but also an economic protection as compared to similar companies.
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