The Consumer Policy Committee of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and its Working Party Consumer Product Safety carried out research with marketplaces and government authorities from several countries – including the National Consumer Secretariat (Senacon) in Brazil.[1]

The idea was to understand and bring together practices adopted by online consumer protection products and services marketing ecosystems, to better explore their business models, and to identify common issues that in some way interfere with or may interfere with consumer protection in marketplaces. The study is available and is an important source of best practices adopted to mitigate accountability risks.

Generally speaking, the Marketplace is characterized as a virtual space for buying and selling products that usually includes partnerships with other retailers, to create a mall virtual. Each partner uses the space as their product ad showcase, enabling consumers to access a variety of advertisers on the same portal.

Confirming what we observe in marketplaces in the country, the research identifies that the main nuisances of consumers are associated with:

  • advertising practices;
  • Blows;
  • problems in dispute resolution;
  • counterfeit products;
  • unsafe products;[2]
  • unfair terms and conditions;
  • delays in receiving goods; and
  • fake ratings and comments.

These practices need to be addressed to reduce the legal and reputational risks arising from them.

Most of these situations, according to global research, occur due to problems faced by consumers with:

  • delivery, as the products are delivered late or are not even shipped;
  • products other than the photo used in the ad; and
  • problems involving payments or fraud of a financial nature.

The research also confirms one of the great difficulties encountered by marketplaces: the relationship with third-party sellers (commonly referred to as Sellers), who advertise their products on the platform.

According to the study, the majority of marketplaces instructs Sellers even before the first announcement, as well as providing support and even training on how to improve customer service. This care aims to strengthen the relationship with Sellers and, in some way, try to standardize the service provided, to avoid inappropriate or irregular conduct (such as fraud).

The research points out as a set of legal practices recommended:

  • production of robust documents for Sellers, indicating what can and cannot be done (such as making the announcements, what are the appropriate levels of logistics, clear separation of responsibilities, etc.);
  • adoption of procedures for due diligences rigorous participation of the Sellers platforms and the improvement of other internal governance mechanisms;
  • conducting training and delivery of assertive and functional communication materials in order to reinforce sellers' awareness of risks;
  • development of mechanisms (including through algorithms) that are accurate in classifying Sellers, that may reflect the credibility of sellers and allow the identification of deviations of pattern and possible risks;
  • a robust structure of solutions for discussions and divergences that includes consumers and sellers, to reduce conflicts and mitigate situations that may generate lawsuits.

The study also sought to understand how government authorities have been cooperating with marketplaces to reinforce consumer protection, the difficulties faced in relation to the theme, what engagement activities have been done between the parties to educate and guide, what are the recent initiatives of monitoring activities, market studies and legal enforcement actions.

Among the answers, some points stand out:

  • most participating countries developed educational guidance material for buying and selling online, aiming to guide sellers and consumers;
  • most participating countries carried out specific monitoring and regulatory activities involving online markets;
  • several participating countries have reported that they have implemented or considered implementing legislative reforms on the subject.

The research was attended by Senacon, which highlighted some Brazilian initiatives to improve conflict solutions involving consumers and marketplaces:

  • creation of the National Council to Combat Piracy, which underheads anti-piracy initiatives in Brazil and is responsible for the preparation and maintenance of the National Plan to Combat Piracy – the council has a specific working group for the treatment of the subject of piracy in the digital sphere, especially in e-commerce;
  • preparation, in the context of the National Plan to Combat Piracy, of the E-Commerce Good PracticeS Booklet, with indications of conduct scans to be adopted by marketplaces to safeguard and guarantee consumer rights, especially with regard to the prevention of the marketing of products;
  • creation, in line with the National Plan to Combat Piracy, the Guide to Good Practices and guidelines for the implementation of measures to combat piracy by the public authorities, rightholders, associations and payment service providers, with the aim of hindering or hindering the receipt of revenue stemming from the sale of goods, provisions and services, in violation of intellectual property; and
  • establishment of the, which, although not entirely directed at consumer relations with marketplaces, is gaining more and more traction among users of these platforms as a method of dispute resolution.

In addition, the study mentioned the initiative of the Court of Justice of São Paulo on the creation of the seal "Justice-Friendly Company",  that known marketplaces in Brazil have been able to obtain.

These practices and initiatives should be closely monitored by the marketplaces brazilians, so that they are always aware of the best initiatives pointed out by the authorities and potential benefits provided by their adoption.

The issue is extremely important and has become even more relevant with the digitisation of markets and the platform economy. In addition to risk awareness, it is essential to adopt good practices that prove diligence in consumer protection and effectiveness in mitigating risks.


[1] In Brazil, the research also had the participation of Inmetro and Anatel.

[2] "unsafe products" means those that pose risks (to the health or safety of consumers) at levels higher than those reasonably expected in view of the very nature of that product.