What has changed?

The Ministry of Commerce and Investment in Saudi Arabia (MoCI) adopted the Implementing Regulations of the E-Commerce Law, with immediate effect on 31 January 2020, to accompany the recent shift towards electronic transactions that commerce is experiencing globally which helps achieve the strategic objectives of Vision 2030.

Objectives

The new regulations aim to (i) increase confidence in e-commerce transactions; (ii) provide consumers necessary protections against fraud, deception and misinformation; and (iii) boost and develop e-commerce activities in the Kingdom.

Who will the new regulations apply to?

The new regulations have a broad scope with an extraterritorial reach. They aim to regulate commercial transactions between service providers and consumers. Notably, the new regulations govern both service providers located within the Kingdom and service providers located outside the Kingdom but who provide e-commerce services to consumers within the Kingdom.

The new regulations protect consumers – a consumer is defined as any person transacting through e-commerce with an intent to receive products or services provided by e-commerce providers. E-commerce is broadly defined as an activity of commercial nature conducted by the service provider and consumer – entirely or partially – through electronic means; for the purpose of selling products or providing services or advertising same or exchange data relating thereto.

Key things you need to know

The new regulations have introduced a number of requirements and obligations that apply to service providers and provide consumers with additional protection including the following:

  1. Disclosure obligations
  2. Protection of personal data
  3. Electronic commercial advertisements
  4. Consumer right to terminate the e-commerce agreement and return products
  5. Delay in delivery of goods or services
  6. Sanctions imposed on non-compliant platforms

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Author

Zahi Younes is a partner in the Saudi Arabia Corporate and Securities practice, specializing in cross-border and domestic mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, joint ventures, global corporate reorganizations, securities and capital markets. Zahi also advises clients on a broad range of technology and media-related matters including cloud computing, data centers, e-commerce/payment solutions and navigating the regulatory landscape in the Kingdom.

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