Overview of E-Commerce Law in Nepal

E-commerce, short for electronic commerce, refers to the buying and selling of goods and services over the internet. E-commerce companies are entities that facilitate these online transactions, often operating digital platforms or websites where buyers and sellers can engage in commercial activities. Nepal does not have specific comprehensive legislation solely dedicated to regulating e-commerce. However, an E-Commerce Bill was proposed in 2080 B.S. and expected to be adopted. Various existing laws and regulations govern different aspects of electronic transactions and consumer protection. Therefore, E-Commerce Companies are indirectly regulated by Companies Act 2063 for its Registration, Operation and Compliance, Consumer Protection Act 2075, Value Added Tax Act 2052 for collection of Value-Added Tax on Goods and Services.

1. Legislative Framework Surrounding E-Commerce

According to the Impending Law, The acceptance of an order by the seller from the customer is legally regarded as a contractual agreement. Customers are granted the right to cancel a product before it is dispatched, and in such cases, no cancellation charges should be imposed. Customers can file complaints at the District Administration Office if the product is not delivered within the specified timeframe. All e-commerce companies are mandated to designate an employee responsible for registering and addressing complaints. The employee’s name, phone number, and address must be prominently displayed on the company’s website.

2. Capable of Engaging in E-Commerce

Under the Provisions Outlined in Section 3 and 4, entities in Nepal engaged in E-Commerce must adhere to specific regulations. Firstly, those registered and licensed to trade in goods or services in accordance with prevailing laws are permitted to conduct E-commerce, as governed by the Act. However, the Act also specifies that electronic transactions involving prohibited goods or services are not permissible. Additionally, the establishment of an electronic platform is a requisite for any entity involved in electronic business.

3. Relevant Details to be Mentioned by E-Commerce Platforms

The entity is required to furnish, at the very least, the following details to facilitate for the buyer in relation to their trade or business activities:

(a) The nomenclature of the electronic platform,

(b) Corporate or business name, physical address, registered legal entity, and certificate of registration number,

(c) Comprehensive particulars concerning the businessperson’s registered office, head office, and any branches or outlets, if extant,

(d) In the event that a distinct license has been acquired for the operation of a specific category of business, a detailed exposition of said license,

(e) A comprehensive elucidation of the envisaged business activities, whether conducted through intermediary or list-based electronic commerce;

(f) Value Added Tax Registration Number or Permanent Account Number,

(g) Contact information, encompassing email, telephone, mobile number, telefax, and additional contact details specifically designated for customer service,

(h) Contact details, namely email, telephone or mobile number, and physical address of the individual or unit entrusted with the resolution of complaints, and

(i) The designated listing number conferred subsequent to the act of listing on the Commerce Platform

4. Procedure of E-Commerce Registration in Nepal

Step 1: Submission of Application to the Departmental E-Commerce Registration Portal

The E-Commerce Platform Owners must involve in the Submission of Application to the E-Commerce Portal established by the Department of Industry along with relevant Details

Step 2: Submission for Operating E-Commerce Platforms

Businesses currently engaged in electronic commerce upon the commencement of this Act are obligated to submit their listing applications within three months from the enactment date.

Step 3: Review and Dissemination of Platform Listing Number by the Department

The department, within seven days from receiving the application, shall disseminate pertinent information, including the platform listing number, to the concerned businessmen through electronic means.

Step 4: Additional Relevant Business Updates

Additionally, should a listed businessman effect any changes, such as the addition or reduction of branches or outlets, an expeditious update of the electronic portal is mandated within seven days from the date of such modification.

5. Documents and Details Required for Listing on E-Commerce Registration Portal

The Following Details are to be mentioned for its registration in the E-Commerce Portal are:

(a) Essential business particulars, including the business name, address, registered legal entity, and certificate of registration number,

(b) In instances where the businessperson is registered within a private firm, the proprietor’s name and identity; for those within a partnership firm, the owner’s details; and for companies or organizations, the identity of the director,

(c) A comprehensive and lucid delineation of the trader’s business activities,

(d) Value Added Tax Registration Number or Permanent Account Number,

(e) Contact information, encompassing telephone number, email, and business address,

(f) Details pertaining to the number and locations of branches or outlets, if applicable, and

(g) Any other particulars as stipulated within the electronic portal.

6. Offences and Punishment Concerning E-Commerce in Nepal

An individual shall be deemed to have committed an offence if they:

(a) Conduct electronic business without establishing the mandated electronic platform

(b) Engage in business activities without the requisite listing

(c) Undertake electronic commerce without transparently disclosing pertinent details regarding goods or services

(d) Fail to fulfill obligations delineated or engage in any act contravening the stipulated obligations.

Penalties are prescribed to maintain the integrity of electronic commerce practices. For the Above Offences, the inspecting officer holds the authority to impose fines ranging from ten thousand rupees to fifty thousand rupees.

7. Conclusion

E-commerce entities find themselves indirectly regulated by existing laws such as the Companies Act, Consumer Protection Act, and Value Added Tax Act. Entities engaging in electronic commerce in Nepal must comply with specific regulations outlined in Sections 3 and 4. Registration and licensing under prevailing laws authorize electronic business operations, subject to prohibitions on certain goods or services. Inspecting officers wield authority to impose fines ranging from ten thousand to fifty thousand rupees for E-Commerce Offences.

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