The situation of e-consumer protection under Rwandan law. The case of consumer redress in cross-border dealings

Bachelor Thesis, 2019

61 Pages


To the almighty God, in Him, I live and trust; the loving memory of my late brother, UWIMANIRINZE Elysée (1999-2015); my Parents, Sisters, Best friends and Friends;

This dissertation is lovingly dedicated.


The advice, orientations, reassurance, and company of different people made the quest to the completion of this dissertation worthwhile.

I am so much indebted to Mr. ITETE MUGAGGA Emmanuel for his trust in me by accepting to supervise this research. He incredibly devoted his time and used possible efforts at his disposal to guide my steps in the constellation of necessary philosophies and principles for the ultimate success of this dissertation. In fact, his supervision has been little short of benediction at every station of my research.

I would like to express my deepest appreciation to the whole team of the School of Law especially whomever I sat in front of, to obtain enticing legal skills, analysis, and various capacities that eventually helped a lot. I acknowledge typically Adv. TURATSINZE Yves, Adv. SEBUCENSHA Léonard, Dr. Denis BIKESHA, Adv. Pie HABIMANA, Dr. Rene MUNYAMAHORO, and Jean-Paul MAZIMPAKA, to mention but a few, for your distinguished roles you played in one way or another.

My gratitude is also extended to the LLB class of 2019. Everyone has been a reason for me to work hard. Your hardworking spirit pushed me to contemplate and come up with an idea to work on this topic. I never forget how everyone struggled to come up with something unique and meaningful to write on.

Further, I do acknowledge with much gratitude the contribution of my family. I am truly thankful for your sacrifices to help me continue with the school despite circumstances that would suggest otherwise. It is my conviction that this research would have never been done in your absence.

My appreciation is lastly extended to all others who explicitly or implicitly supported me but whose names are not mentioned here. May God’s blessings be upon you for being tender-hearted to me.

Table of acronyms

ADR: Alternative Dispute Resolution

Art. : Article

BSI: the British Standards Institute EAC: East African Community Ed.: Edition

FAA: The Combination of the Federal Arbitration Act

GA: General Assembly

LCCP: Law on Competition and Consumer Protection

O.G: Official Gazette

ODR: Online Dispute Resolution

OECD: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

P or pp: Page or Pages

RICA: Rwanda Inspectorate and Competition Authority

RURA: Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority

UR: University of Rwanda USA: United States of America USD: United States Dollar

V. : Versus

Vol.: Volume


Approval Sheet


1. Background and interest of research

Until the 1990s, marketplace had been merely characterized by face-to-face interactions between sellers and buyers. In today’s world, however, most transactions have been adapted to digital realms, hence the roll-out of new commercial forms that had never existed before 1990s.1 One of the emerged novelties is the recent-born form of commerce, ‘ Electronic Commerce ’ (hereinafter referred to as ‘ e-commerce ’).2

According to the Organisation for Economic Corporation and Development (OECD), e- commerce has no universal definition.3 Akintola et al., for instance, defined e-commerce as “buying and selling of products or services electronically via the Internet and other computer networks”.4 Lallana et al. supported this definition by defining e-commerce as “the sale or purchase of goods or services, conducted over computer networks by methods specifically designed for the purpose of receiving or placing of orders.”5 Khairi, further, defined e-commerce as a form of business where sellers use the Internet as a means of promoting and selling products and services to consumers from all over the world. There are several definitions but, for the purpose of this research, e-commerce refers to a form of commerce whereby goods and services are sold and purchased through computer networks.6

In Rwanda, e-commerce is also still considered new but it is quickly mounting as local tech start-ups and international players have entered Rwanda’s market in the past four years. For instance, Jumia, a Nigerian e-commerce company, had introduced four online services in Rwanda by 2017.7 Certainly, in the coming time, a big number of people from all over the globe will be able to buy goods and services from Rwanda without moving. On the other hand, Rwandans are also getting accustomed to buying items from abroad. China and the United Arab Emirates are the main partners in e-commerce and ordering is mainly done through Alibaba and Ali Express, to mention but a few. These services include but are not limited to e-learning, telemedicine, and advertising.8

The advances in digital technology have augmented the number of businesses that use the internet to sell goods and offer services to their customers from various corners of the world. In 1995, total global e-commerce was zero, then estimated at USD 26 Billion in 1997, predicted to reach 330 USD billion in 2001-2002 and 1 Trillion in 2004-2005.9

Concomitantly, the mentioned technological shifts that are on the move in the functioning of businesses and markets bear huge implications vis-à-vis consumer’s rights protection. As this technology promises customers with the accessibility of competitive prices, quality products, better information, and new market choices, it also brings a great concern as it takes along challenges relating to intricacy and uncertainty, sometimes accompanied by misleading or fraudulent business practices.10

Like in traditional commerce, e-commerce also has issues that prompt consumers to seek redress.11 Apart from issues that are common to any arrangement of commerce, e- commerce particularly sustains issues pertaining to the elongated distance between suppliers and buyers; digital content; privacy and security; formation of contracts; dispute resolution and redress; jurisdictions; to mention but a few.12 For instance, if the wrong product arrives, or with poor quality or an item is damaged, would it be easy to claim the replacement and before which court, if applicable?13

As an illustration, in the case of Ms. Daniela Mühlleitner v. Ahmed and Wadat Yusufi, where the applicant from Australia bought a car online from Hamburg, the defendant’s place. At home, she found the car to have defects and sued in an Australian Court. In this case, the question of whether the suing customer could choose to sue at the court of her residence or at the court of the defendant’s place.14 The issue of jurisdiction was also a major point of discussions in the Independent News (India TV) v. India Broadcast Live and Ors,15 and Lokman Emrek v. Vlado Sabranovic 16 cases.

2. Research problem

In the traditional marketplace, consumers are aware of their legal rights,17 and it is relatively easier to get access to different methods of enforcing their rights such as through in-house complaint procedures or appealing to courts.18 Since every transaction is made under a single jurisdiction, redress is often available and effective. In contrast, in online transactions, access to redress is not easily reachable for consumers.19 Since e- commerce is borderless, the recourse to courts in disputes resulting from international electronic transactions is also complicated mostly due to the problem of knowing which courts shall have jurisdiction over such disputes.20

In general, Rwanda has marked improvements as regards the protection and promotion of consumer’s rights and interests. The most remarkable achievement is the adoption of competition and consumer protection Law in 2012.21 This legislation followed the lead of the East African Community (EAC) Competition Act of 2006. There has been also adopted the law relating to electronic messages, electronic signatures, and electronic transactions to prevent misuse of computers in electronic transactions.22 Other achievements include the adoption of competition and consumer protection policy in 2010, Guidelines on Consumer Complaints Handling, the establishment of RURA23 and projected RICA24 as regulatory bodies, as well as the creation of consumer’s rights protection associations.

In the face of the abovementioned achievements, however, the protection of e- consumers is still not clearly or more adequately set. Regardless of the fact that e- consumers apparently face separate and diverse challenges compared to other consumers on the traditional marketplace, none of the aforementioned instruments recognizes uncommon features and intricacies of e-commerce. The Rwandan Law on Competition and Consumer Protection ((hereinafter referred to as “LCCP” or “Consumer Protection Law”)25 does not even disjointedly recognize this sort of commerce.

To put it simplest, consumer redress mechanisms that are provided in the law are doubtful to answer to all mentioned issues that are specifically raised by cross-border e- commerce and e-commerce in general. For example, as pointed out, redresses provided by article 50 of the LCCP i.e. replacement, price reduction and rescinding of contract, seem hardly workable basing on the distance between a seller and a purchaser26 as well as the fact that the purchaser pays in advance.27

Not only that Rwandan Law has failed to draw a sharp line between traditional commerce and e-commerce, but it does not also recognize some of the attempts that are presently used in some countries to manage the cross-border disputes in e-commerce transactions such as Online Disputes Resolution (ODR).28 This follows the law’s failure to provide a practical answer to the issues of conflict of laws and jurisdictions that do arise in e-commerce.

3. Research questions

Following the ultimate purpose of this research, the research questions to which we attempted to respond are the following:

1. To what extent is the existing legal framework adequate to guarantee effective e- consumer redress in Rwanda?
2. To what extent does Rwandan law address the issue of the conflict of laws and jurisdiction in case of cross-border e-commerce vis-à-vis consumer redress?
3.What can be done to ensure or improve the effectiveness and efficiency of e- consumer redress for cross-border disputes?

In line with the first question, we intend to shed a light on what the existing laws, regulations, and policies provide vis-à-vis remedies and redress mechanisms that are generally available to any consumer and e-consumers in particular. Additionally, there shall be examined the adequacy and effectiveness of those existing laws and institutions in overcoming challenges that are brought about by cross-border e-commerce especially those related to e-consumer redress.

Regarding the second question, we assess the extent to which Rwandan law addresses the issue of conflicts of laws and jurisdictions that repeatedly show up in e-commerce transactions with foreign elements.

Lastly but most importantly, with regard to the third question, we attempt to come up with ways to help e-consumers have effective redress so as to harness consumer protection and trust in e-commerce transactions for the ultimate benefits of consumers, suppliers, and Rwandan economy on the whole.

4. Research objectives

This research is mostly intended to identify loopholes in Rwandan Laws with regard to issues that emerge time and again in e-commerce transactions. It specifically focuses on the availability and effectiveness of consumer redress, mechanisms thereof and institutions to put them in force. It as well tends to show failures of Rwandan Private International Rules concerning the protection of consumers, which are normally taken into account by courts while dealing with consumer-related issues consisting of a foreign element, which refers to contact with some system of law and jurisdiction other than those of the forum state.29

Noteworthy is that this research is not limited to the identification of loopholes and failures in the law but it is also expected to deliver solutions apropos legal issues found in relation to e-consumer redress. It mainly tends to propose ways of harnessing consumer protection and trust in e-commerce transactions for the ultimate benefits of consumers, suppliers, and Rwandan economy as a whole. This was done by comparing the availability and adequacy of e-consumer redresses in Rwanda with those of other countries where e-commerce is more developed.

5. Research methodology

In respect of identifying previously mentioned legal issues, we have used various methods and techniques appropriate for the best results of this research. Certainly, the desktop method was used for the analysis, interpretation, and explanation of legal instruments to understand the authority and relevance of those instruments to the objectives of this study. Comparative method was also used to compare Rwandan legislation with foreign and international legislations. Then, an analytical method was used for the analysis of data availed by this study. Lastly, the synthetic method was adopted for summarizing this research to make it clear and understandable.

With regard to techniques used, documentary technique or literature review was prioritized to find opinions from different writers on the topic in question. In this regard, we consulted books, laws, internet-based information and other written information that may equip us with required and appropriate information to serve the best outcomes of this research.

6. Scope of the study

This research is principally delimited to the identification of loopholes under Rwandan legal framework with regard to the availability and viability of consumer redress in cross-border e-commerce. Additionally, international benchmarks and legislation of other countries will be taken into account for better achievement of objectives that are looked for by this research.

7. Structure of the study

To respond to the aforementioned legal issues raised in the framework of assessment of e-consumer redress in Rwanda, apart from this general introduction, this dissertation consists of Three Chapters. Chapter One discusses the status quo of consumer redress under Rwandan legislation. It especially focuses on remedies and consumer redress mechanisms that are available in the law as of now and the extent to which they respond to e-commerce disputes resolution exigencies.

Chapter Two elaborates on the relevance of private international law (also known as conflict of laws in common law countries). After showing the role of PIL in cross-border e-commerce, there will be assessed the extent to which Rwandan law addresses the issue of the conflict of laws and jurisdiction in case of cross-border e-commerce in relation to consumer redress.

Chapter Three suggests solutions to legal issues. It primarily proposes ways of harnessing consumer protection and trust in e-commerce transactions by doing a comparison between Rwanda and other countries where e-commerce has gained an advanced stride as to making e-consumer redress available and effective.

Lastly, conclusions drawn from the findings will be given along with recommendations.



The right of consumers to redress is at the center of modern consumer protection policy.30 At this point, before we specifically delve into the legal framework, it is worth reflecting briefly on the general concept of consumer redress which is certainly broad.

In order to define redress, we first need to have a clear understanding of what we mean by a complaint because in e-commerce complaints take on greater importance than in other types of commerce.31 Most definitions of what constitutes a complaint suggest that the key defining factor is an expression of dissatisfaction in a purchase or service. For example, the British Standards Institute (BSI)’s complaint handling standard32 defined a complaint as: “[A]n expression of dissatisfaction made to an organization, related to its products, or the complaints handling process itself, where a response or resolution is explicitly or implicitly expected.”

Redress may thus be defined as the means by which the said dissatisfaction is addressed. In other words, ‘redress’ refers to the setting right of what is wrong, relief from wrong or injury, compensation or satisfaction for a wrong or injury.33 A consumer redress is then conceptualized as “a remedy for a wrong arising from a contract or other relationship between a consumer and trader.”34

Noteworthy is that consumer redress should, however, not be confused with dispute resolution as the two concepts have distinct legal nature. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, dispute resolution refers to “the use of mechanisms designed to provide consumers who have suffered economic harm resulting from transactions involving goods or services, including transactions across borders, the opportunity to resolve their complaints against businesses and to obtain redress” and redress refers to “compensation for economic harm, whether in the form of a monetary remedy (e.g. a voluntary payment, damages, restitution or other monetary relief) or a conduct remedy with a restorative element like the exchange of a goods or services, specific performance or rescission of a contract, etc.35 Nevertheless, for the purpose of this paper, the use of redress will entail both concepts.

When he was addressing to the Congress of the United States of America in 1962, President John F. Kennedy stated that consumer rights included “the right to be heard – to be assured that consumer interests will receive full and sympathetic consideration [and] fair and expeditious treatment [in] tribunals”.36 This is reinforced by the preliminary program of the European Economic Community for a consumer protection and information policy, which mentions: “consumers should receive advice and help in respect of complaints and of injury or damage resulting from the purchase or use of defective goods or unsatisfactory services. Consumers are also entitled to proper redress for such injury or damage by means of swift, effective and inexpensive procedures.”37

Contrary to traditional commerce, e-commerce transactions are initiated and concluded via the Internet without parties ever seeing each other.38 The nature of this form of commerce carries challenges that beckon attention. For instance, since all transactions are conducted online, there is a problem of impossibility to view or touch the items to be purchased, not forgetting the vagueness of information about the products that may be offered.39 Apart from the absence of a guarantee of transaction security and privacy, it is also worth indicating that any person, good or bad, can easily start a business on the Internet just eat up customers’ money.40 In every setting envisaged here above, a consumer can be easily caused harm and thus seek redress. This is why e-consumer redress is a critical topic to reflect on whenever e-commerce is under discussions.41

It is inevitable that―for consumer redress to be effective―there should be a robust legal framework and institutions to ensure, as mentioned, that consumers are able to access proper redress by means of swift, effective and inexpensive procedures.42


It is not far back since the protection of consumers’ rights and interests were given a place under a locally adopted law in Rwanda. This can be traced back from the adoption of Competition and Consumer Protection law in 2012. Other specific laws and regulations were put in place to protect consumers of specific services in Rwanda, such as insurance, financial services, to mention but a few. 43 Other laws and regulatory texts have been adopted and conventions were ratified to safeguard consumers and they have different modes in which consumers may seek redress whenever his rights as a consumer are violated. This section assesses the extent to which consumer redress mechanisms that are provided in foregoing laws and regulations are equally available and effective for e-consumers.


The consumer protection is, stricto sensu, governed by the Law Nº 36/2012 of 21/09/2012 relating to competition and consumer protection. This Law aims specifically at encouraging competition in the economy by prohibiting practices that undermine the normal and fair course of competition practices in commercial matters, as well as ensuring consumer’s interests promotion and protection.44

This law defines a consumer as a person who purchases or acquires a commodity or a service for personal or family use for non-commercial purposes.45 The EAC Competition Act to which the present law referred develops this concept by defining a consumer as: “Any person who purchases goods or services from an undertaking for consumption and includes any person who uses such goods or services with the approval of the buyer irrespective of whether the purchase or use is for personal or commercial use”.46 This definition implies that a protected consumer is not only the one who buys concerned goods or services but the approved user is protected as a consumer as well.

Let us now look at the scope of the present law, backdrops of seeking redress as well as redress mechanisms that are provided under the same law. The Scope of Consumer Protection Law

Like for other laws, this law also has a scope of application. The relevance of this scope to this study finds its basis on the fact that it should be known whether e-consumers fall under the scope of present law in order that they can profit from redress mechanisms that are provided therein.

Considerably, the Consumer Protection Law applies to any economic activity carried out or having an effect within Rwanda. 47 The law extends its scope to the Government, parastatals or companies in which the Government holds shares insofar as their business activities are intended to produce, supply, distribute goods or provide any services on the market in Rwanda which is open to participation by other enterprises.48

Reading from the above provision of article 3, it is plain that the legislator focused more on competition part (professionals) than consumers to establish the scope of this law. The law is silent as to which consumers fall under its scope of application. However, the author submits that this does not necessarily mean that this law applies to any consumer. A simple inference is that the present law applies to the Rwandan market and players thereof. In other words, it encourages competition among professionals whose economic activities (production of goods and services) are carried out or having an effect within the Rwandan market. It as well protects anybody who consumes or uses those goods and services by laying out obligations to be fulfilled by concerned professionals.

As an illustration, if particular individuals from Rwanda buy products from China electronically, they will not enjoy the protection of Consumer Protection Law. Generally speaking, these individuals are consumers in the ambit of the law’s definition of a consumer but they do not fall under of its scope because the seller and Chinese market are not bound by the provisions of Rwandan Consumer Protection Law.49 This follows a general proposition that “no state or nation can by its laws directly affect or bind property out of its own territory, or bind-persons not resident therein, whether they are natural-born subjects or others”.50

Conversely, this should not be understood in a sense that Rwandan Consumer Protection Law does not protect e-consumers. As pointed out, this law applies to the Rwandan market. Even though Rwandan e-consumers who may buy products or services from other countries are not protected by the previously said law, e-consumers from other countries who may happen to buy products or services from Rwanda are protected by Rwandan Consumer Protection Law.51 Backdrops of Consumer Redress under Consumer Protection Law

As previously mentioned, dissatisfaction forms the very basis of redress.52 The present Consumer Protection Law provides for rights and of obligations of both consumers and professionals. Thus, whenever a given professional fails to fulfill his/her obligations at the detriment of a consumer, there will certainly be dissatisfaction against which a consumer may seek redress.

As for the rights of consumers, they include― inter alia―;

- Right to be protected against the marketing of goods which are hazardous to life and property;53
- Right to be informed about the quality, quantity, potency, purity, standard and price of goods to protect the consumer against unfair trade practices;54
- Right to be assured, wherever possible, access to a variety of goods at competitive prices;55
- Right to be heard and to be assured that customers’ interests will receive due consideration at appropriate forums;
- Right to consumer education; and
- Right to seek redress against unfair trade practices or unscrupulous exploitation of consumers.

Unsurprisingly, seeking redress is right that a consumer can exercise whenever there is unfair practices or unscrupulous exploitation against him/her.56

On the other side, this Law provides for obligations of sellers that have to be fulfilled for the ultimate promotion and protection of consumers’ rights and interests. These include;

- Obligation to inform the consumer;57
- Obligation to display prices;58
- Obligation to issue an invoice;59
- Obligation to meet contract terms including offering a Guarantee;60
- Obligation to meet Goods safety and Quality standards;61 and
- Obligation to provide after-sale services.62 entrenched

Conventionally, it is the violation of the aforesaid rights of consumers and sellers’ obligations that constitute the foundation of seeking redress here in Rwanda. Noteworthy is that the law does not contain provisions for rights or obligations regarding diverse and distinctive issues that arise in e-commerce such as; among other things, cybercrimes, transaction security and privacy of e-consumers. This constitutes one of the gaps in this law because all of these issues require special attention and consumers are of course in need of legal protection from any abuse therefrom.63 Consumer Redress Mechanisms under Consumer Protection Law

In a nutshell, it is clear from the provisions of LCCP that a consumer whose rights are violated can claim for compensation. This is for any consumer who has incurred a loss as a result of a violation of provisions of this Law regarding consumer protection.64 Further, when a commodity which is delivered to a consumer lacks conformity, a consumer is entitled to have the commodity brought into conformity, repaired or replaced free of charge or have an appropriate reduction of the price or the contract rescinded with regard to that commodity.65

As discussed earlier, the present law does not isolate e-consumers from consumers who are under its application. This predestines that e-consumers are entitled to the general rights and obligations under LCCP and their status is not given any special consideration. Having said that, it is apparent that general consumer redress provided under Consumer Protection Law also applies to e-consumers mutatis-mutandis.

Not only are remedies important but there should be also mechanisms through which e-consumers may attain that redress.66 Consumer redress mechanism is defined as the means and process by which a consumer can seek a remedy from a trader as a result of a perceived or actual wrong.67 These mechanisms vary from countries to countries but they generally include in-house complaint procedures, Alternative Disputes Resolution (ADR) mechanisms and litigation.68

Of important note is that the redress mechanism provided for by LCCP is generally that of referring claims to courts of law. This is construed from the provision of article 50, which reads: “any person who has incurred a loss as a result of a violation of provisions of this Law regarding consumer protection may institute an action in a court of law. Registered consumers protection associations may institute a civil action in a court of law upon request by a consumer or when the subject matter of the action aims at seeking compensation for damages”.


Apart from Competition and Consumer Protection Law, there are other laws that consist of some provisions that are relevant to redress and or mechanisms from which e-consumers may benefit. These laws include but not limited to the Law n° 45/2011 of 25/11/2011 Governing Contracts along with Civil Code Book III (hereinafter referred to as “CCB III”), Guidelines on consumer protection and complaint-handling procedures issued by RURA and the Law no 22/2018 of 29/04/2018 relating to the civil, commercial, labour and administrative procedure. Contract Law

At first sight, the law governing contracts provide for general rules that govern contracts. Apart from provisions relating to contract formation and factors which may invalidate a contract ―among others― this law also embeds a chapter on contractual obligations and effects of non-performance of contractual obligations. Article 81 of this law provides that a “total breach of the contract gives the right to damages based on the non-performed obligations. Partial breach of the contract gives the right to damages based on only part of remaining obligations to perform”.69 This provision is very relevant for e-consumers because if a person e-buys a product from Rwanda, the seller will have to execute his/her obligations under the contract or otherwise be subjected to paying damages for non-performance of his/her contractual obligations. This law goes hand in hand with CCB III which applies to specific contracts.70 The most relevant provisions are those relating to sale contracts.71


1 Difference between E-commerce vs Traditional commerce available at < commerce-vs-traditional-commerce/ > accessed on 5 March 2019.

2 David Kiriakidis, History of E-Commerce, retrieved from < > accessed on 5 March 2019.

3 Organisation for Economic Corporation and Development (OECD), Report on Electronic Commerce: Opportunities and Challenges for Government (OECD, 1997) at p. 20.

4 K G Akintola, R O Akinyede, and C O Agbonifo, “Appraising Nigeria Readiness for E-Commerce towards Achieving Vision 2020,” International Journal of Research and Reviews in Applied Sciences 9, no. November (2011): 330–340

5 Lallana E., Quimbo R. and Others, An Introduction to E-commerce, Philippines: DAI-AGILE, 2000, pg. 2.

6 Quoted by Omar and Anas, op cit., at pp. 291–298.

7 See Rwanda e-commerce available at < > accessed on 4 March 2019.

8 Ms. Mina Mashayekhi, Services Policy Review: Rwanda, UNCTAD, New York and Geneva 2014.

9 OECD, The Economic and Social Impact of electronic Commerce, Preliminary findings and research agreement (1998).

10 See infra note 9, OECD.

11 Pablo Cortés., The Law of Consumer Redress in an Evolving Digital Market, Cambridge University Press, 2017, pg. 16.

12 See OECD, Toolkit For Protecting Digital Consumers: A Resource for G20 Policy Makers, Pg. 35.

13 Chin Ong, B2C E-Commerce Trust in Redress Mechanism (Cross Border Issues), June 2003, Petaling Jaya, pg. 46.

14 See Ms. Daniela Mühlleitner v. Ahmed and Wadat Yusufi, case no. C-190/11.

15 Independent News (India TV) v. India Broadcast Live and Ors, MIPR 22007 (35) PTC 177 Del. Para. 1.

16 Lokman Emrek v. Vlado Sabranovic, C-218/12.

17 Hörnle, J., “Encouraging Online Dispute Resolution in the EU and Beyond: Keeping Costs Low or Standards High?” Legal Studies Research Paper No. 122. School of Law, Queen Mary University, London, UK, 2012, pp. 1–26.

18 Rosalind Stevens, Consumer Protection: meeting the expectations of the connected consumer, GSR Discussion Paper 2009, pg. 16, available at < D/treg/events/seminars/gsr/GSR09/doc/GSR09_Consumer-protection_Stevens.pdf > accessed on 6 March 2019.

19 Mehdi K., Utilizing and Managing Commerce and Services Online, Idea Group Inc. (IGI), pg. 46.

20 See supra n. 13, Chin Ong.

21 Law no 36/2012 of 21/09/2012 Relating to Competition and Consumer Protection, O.G., no 46 of 12/11/2012.

22 Art. 1, Law no 18/2010 of 12/05/2010 Relating to Electronic Messages, Electronic Signatures and Electronic Transactions, O.G. no 20 of 17/05/2010.

23 RURA stands for Rwanda Utility Regulatory Authority. RURA has been vested with, among other powers, putting in place appropriate regulatory framework, promoting, and protecting consumer’s interests. See Art. 6, Law no 09/2013 of 01/03/2013 Establishing Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA) and Determining its Mission, Powers, Organisation and Functioning, O.G., n°14bis of 08/04/2013.

24 See the Law nº 31/2017 OF 25/07/2017 establishing Rwanda Inspectorate, Competition and Consumer Protection Authority and Determining Its Mission, Organisation and Functioning.

25 Law Relating to the Competition and Consumer Protection of 2012.

26 Cortés, P., de la Rosa, F.E., “Building a global redress system for low-value cross-border disputes”, Int. Compar. Law Quart. 62 (2), 2013, P 407–440.

27 Chin E. Ong andDavid T., “Redress procedures expected by consumers during a business-to-consumer e- commerce dispute” pp. 150-151, available at <> accessed on accessed on 6 March 2019.

28 David R. Parkatti, Online Dispute Resolution: Overcoming the Problems and Shackles of Territory, 2001, available at < > accessed on 6 March 2019.

29 David Mcclean, David and Kish Beevers, Conflict of Laws, Sweet Maxwell, London, 2009, pp: 2. See also Rene M., Private International Law, Course Notes, UR, Kigali, 2016-2017, pg. 1.

30 UNCTAD, Dispute resolution and redress, TD/B/C.I/CPLP/11, 30 April 2018, P 2.

31 Chin E. Ong and David T. (2016), p 150.

32 ISO 10002 Customer Satisfaction, Complaints (2004).

33Redress” available at < > accessed on 10 July 2019.

34 OFT1267, Mapping UK consumer redress: A summary guide to dispute resolution systems, May 2010, p 6.

35 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, 2007.

36 JF Kennedy, 1962, Special message to Congress on protecting the consumer interest, address to the United States Congress, 15 March.

37 European Economic Community, 1975, Preliminary programme of the European Economic Community for a consumer protection and information policy, 25 April.

38 Chemzche Omar and T Anas, “E-Commerce in Malaysia: Development, Implementation and Challenges,” 3, (2014): 291–298.

39 Muhammad Nuruddeen, “Legal Issues in Electronic Commerce: Challenges and Prospects for Nigeria,” Abuja Journal of Private and Comparative Law 3 (2013), 164–183.

40 Shell International Petroleum Co. v. Allen Jones, WIPO Case No. D2003-0821 of 18 December 2003. Cooper et al., (2011), also have a similar note; that e-commerce is not entirely risk-free because not all online merchants are honest and professional, and mistakes can happen.

41 See economy_GSR19.pdf

42 OECD Recommendation on Consumer Dispute Resolution and Redress, p 12 , recommends “[the expansion of] the awareness of justice system participants, including the judiciary, law enforcement officials, and other government officials, as to the needs of foreign consumers who have been harmed by domestic wrongdoers”, to ensure effective consumer redress mechanisms as regards Cross-border consumer disputes. This shows the essentialness of effective relevant institutions vis-à-vis effective e-consumer redress. Chin Eang Ong (2003).

43 As an example, apart from the protection of insurance consumers that lies in the law governing the organization of insurance business of 2008 as well as the law nº 36/2012 of 21/09/2012 relating to competition and consumer protection, the National Bank of Rwanda has put in place some regulations that protect insurance consumers in different ways. These include, but not limited to, Regulation n° 12/2009 of 13/10/2009 on Market Conduct Requirements for insurers and insurance intermediaries, Regulation n° 07/2012 of 14/08/2012 Relating to Special Procedures Applicable to Winding Up of Insurance Companies and Regulation n° 08/2017 of 19/05/2017 on pecuniary and administrative sanctions applicable to pension schemes and pension scheme service providers.

44 Art. 1, Law no 36/2012 of 21/09/2012 Relating to Competition and Consumer Protection, O.G., no 46 of 12/11/2012

45 Art. 2, 11°, LCCP.

46 Sect. 2, EAC Competition Act of 2006. under the scope of present law in order that they can profit from redress mechanisms that are provided therein.

47 Art. 3 para 1, LCCP

48 Art. 3 para 2, LCCP

49 This is logical because if Rwandan Consumer Protection Law impose a given obligation to players in Rwandan market while, on the other hand, Chinese law does not, A seller from China may happen not to fulfil that obligation. Therefore, it would impede the freedom of trade once professionals are compelled to comply with obligations existence of which they do not even know.

50 EG LORENZEN, Territoriality, Public Policy and The Conflict Of Laws, - 1924, retrieved from <> accessed on 15 July 2019.

51 The philosophy behind this assertion is that sellers in the second case are bound by obligations that are entrenched under the Rwandan Consumer Protection Law hence protecting any consumer buying goods or services from them.

52 Ralph L. Day and Muzaffer Bodur,” Consumer Response to Dissatisfaction With Services and Intangibles”, in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 05, eds. Kent Hunt, Ann Abor, MI : Association for Consumer Research, 1978, Pages: 263-272.

53 Art 47, LCCP

54 Art. 33, LCCP

55 This right is provided under the Rwanda Competition and Consumer Protection Policy, Kigali, July 2010, p. 13.

56 Suresh B. Lal, Introduction to Consumer Rights and Responsibilities available at < BILITIES > accessed on 15 July 2019.

57 Art.33, LCCP

58 Art.35, LCCP

59 Art.40, LCCP

60 Art.44, LCCP

61 Art.47, 48 and 49, LCCP

62 Art.45, LCCP

63 Bernard and Akomolede, “Regulations or Legislation for Data Protection in Nigeria? A Call for a Clear Legislative Framework,” Global Journal of Politics and Law Research 3, no. 4 (2015): 1–16.;

64 Deborah Enadeghe, “Comparative Analysis of the Applicable Legal Protection for Purchasers on the Internet, in Europe and USA- Lessons For Nigeria” (LL.M. thesis, Central European University Budapest, Hungary, 2013), 1-59. 64 Art. 50 , LCCP

65 Art. 42, LCCP.

66 GA, Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 22 December 2015 [on the report of the Second Committee (A/70/470/Add.1)] 70/186, Consumer protection.

67 See Mapping UK Consumer Redress: A summary guide to dispute resolution systems, OFT May 2010, P. 6

68 UNCTAD, Dispute Resolution and Redress, Geneva, 2018, pg. 4.

69 Art. 81, Law n° 45/2011 of 25/11/2011 Governing Contracts, O.G., nº 04bis of 23/01/2012

70 Rene M., Specific Contracts, Course PP Slides, UR, Kigali, 2017-2018, Lecture 1, PP 5.

71 See CCB III from article 263.

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The situation of e-consumer protection under Rwandan law. The case of consumer redress in cross-border dealings
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E-commerce, Internet, Consumer protection, Law, Redress, Jurisdiction, Rwanda
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Elie Nshimiyimana (Author), 2019, The situation of e-consumer protection under Rwandan law. The case of consumer redress in cross-border dealings, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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