The so-called ‘Sharing Economy’, a business model based on the now ubiquitous technology of digital platforms, is a complex phenomenon from many perspectives, including the regulatory perspective. Companies such as Uber, Airbnb, and Menulog often do not fit into traditional legal categories and regulatory frameworks, creating both legal uncertainty and a power imbalance that leaves weaker parties at the mercy of the stronger actors. This article proposes addressing this power imbalance by exploring the potential offered by contract law. Specifically, it argues with examples how a contract approach using a combination of general principles, specific doctrines and rules, implied terms, and general consumer law goes a significant distance to solving the categorisation problem and redressing the power imbalance that pervades the ‘Sharing Economy’ businesses. The article demonstrates how contract law can be used as an overarching tool to address the existing power imbalance without legislative or regulatory reform, achieving policies aimed at protecting the weaker actors of this contract based, technology-driven model.
|Number of pages||27|
|Journal||SSRN Electronic Journal|
|Publication status||Published - 2023|