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The role of the information systems
Information systems that support online auctions act as excellent platforms on which buyers and sellers meet and transact business. Sellers of different items post their product specifications on the websites, and they wait for buyers to place bids.
The systems support prospective buyers to place their bids, and successful bidders are selected based on their value of bids, i.e., the highest bidders win. The information systems also play a great role in supporting electronic methods of payments made by bidders. Also, they are used to notify successful buyers when and how their products would be shipped.
In my opinion, I believe that sellers should not post whatever they want without being sensitive to other people. Some auction items could offend some people on the internet. Sellers should evaluate the sensitivity of items for sale. If an item is found to cause much offense to people online, then it should not be auctioned on the internet.
It would be difficult for sellers to determine the degree of offense their items cause. The best way to assess the level of offense is to conduct a feedback survey focusing on how people rate offense caused by particular products.
Controls on items sold in electronic auctions
Controls should be placed on items sold in online auctions to enhance public trust and confidence. Controls would greatly minimize the number of fraud cases experienced in online auctions. First, there should be control to ensure proper identification of the items. Items should be presented in the form of images that are clear to prospective buyers.
Sellers should provide and verify their email and mailing addresses, and this ensures that buyers would be dealing with genuine sellers online. Second, identity theft controls should be implemented to prevent stolen items from being sold online.
This control could be supported by regulations and policies, sound recovery systems, and effective incident response plans. Third, repeated fees should be paid by sellers to post their products. This approach would be aimed to validate users and ensure that they post genuine products for sale.
Ethical issues in electronic auctions
Non-delivery is a common unethical practice in online auctions. Unethical sellers alert buyers that they have shipped their products while they have not. Some unethical online sellers stack their fees, i.e., they charge undisclosed fees, making the actual cost of a product more expensive than a buyer expects.
The fees could be on product handling or shipment. Online auctions have also been characterized by prevalent cases of shill bidding. In shill bidding, friends or associates of online sellers pretend to place actual bids on items, and they ensure that prices go up to their anticipated levels.
Measures to address the ethical issues
Non-delivery ethical issues could be addressed by adopting technologies that give buyers real-time information about the status of the shipment of goods. Also, it could be prevented by scanning shipment documents and sending them to buyers to confirm that their products have been shipped. Fee stacking could be addressed by making the terms and conditions clear to buyers before they could sign purchase agreement documents electronically.
This could ensure that they are prevented from paying hidden costs that are not covered in the terms and conditions. Shill bidding can be prevented by enforcing strict laws and regulations that prohibit friends and associates of online sellers from hiking prices of products unethically.