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Patrick Quirk and John A. Rothchild

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Patrick Quirk and John A. Rothchild

This chapter addresses the novel consumer protection issues that arise when individuals and businesses use the Internet to engage in commercial transactions. These issues have become increasing salient as the proportion of retail transactions that are consummated using online media of communication has steadily grown over the past twenty years. Topics covered include: the role of the regulator in the online context; the regulation of misleading online advertising, including special rules relating to endorsements; online contracting, including shrinkwrap, clickwrap, and browsewrap scenarios, statutes of frauds, use of electronic agents, and unfair contract terms; the resolution of online disputes through chargebacks, trader-implemented schemes, and international cooperation among regulators; the regulation of unsolicited commercial e-mail; and privacy, including the application of the fair information practice principles, children’s privacy, and issues arising from the use of social media.