New UAE Law Extends Consumer Rights to All Online Payments and Digital Transactions

According to David Yates, partner and head of digital and data at Al Tamimi & Company, the UAE's most recent law includes all types of online payment and digital transactions within and outside the nation and provides additional consumer rights

According to David Yates, partner and head of digital and data at Al Tamimi & Company, the UAE’s most recent law includes all types of online payment and digital transactions within and outside the nation and provides additional consumer rights.

“The new law aims to control trade using all available digital methods. E-commerce has always relied on websites.

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However, digital trade has evolved into a variety of new forms, like the purchase and sale of products and services via apps or blockchain, which do not fit within classic e-commerce technologies.

This legislation abstracts essential trading concepts and defines technology methods that were not previously described in e-commerce rules.

In an interview with the Khaleej Times on Thursday, Yates stated that it encompasses any digital means of trading.

Late last year, the UAE issued Federal Decree No. 14 of 2023, which governs all elements of digital payment and transactions.

The former legislation solely addressed e-commerce, while the new law is significantly broader and provides more consumer protection in the UAE.

“The rule applies to buyers and sellers using any digital means in the UAE or outside the UAE when citizens purchase goods.

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However, there are several exceptions, such as government procurement, the purchase and sale of digital currencies, and the provision of financial services. “Those have been carved out,” Yates explained.

He went on to say that the previous e-commerce law did not cover transactions involving blockchain, mobile apps, digital platforms, gateways, blockchains, supply chain management, logistics, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, digital marketing and advertising, digital transactions payment ecosystem, and other yet-to-be-developed technologies. “The new legislation encompasses not just current technology, but also future technologies.”

He went on to say that the measure is highly consumer-focused, with several extra consumer safeguards.

“For example, it is required that customers offer feedback through a window on digital platforms. It protects customers from fraud.

For example, the consumer did not receive what he or she viewed online. There is an additional clause stating that you ordered a fresh food but it arrived late and you cannot consume it. You mail it back.

There is a time limit for delivering the product. You need to receive a receipt. Importantly, it abstracts the concept of digital contracts. This legislation states that if it is possible to verify identification and make a contract, it is a lawful contract.”

He noted that the Executive Regulations, which will include fines, will most likely focus on customers receiving refunds and attempting to reconcile the two parties.

According to Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy, the law aims to put consumers at the center of the digital economy by allowing them to review their experiences and provide feedback, exercise choice, and receive advertising and marketing efforts.

“Moreover, it gives consumers the freedom to opt in or out of advertising and marketing campaigns.” Furthermore, the law strengthens return and exchange rights, boosting consumer trust.

Furthermore, there is a ban on charging additional costs for digital payment methods, as well as a bar on subjecting concept counterparties to arbitration for disputes under a particular level,” he stated.

Essam Al Tamimi, chairman of Al Tamimi & Company, emphasized the need for the business community to be informed of the new UAE legislation governing commerce through contemporary technology and how it would influence them.

“We hope to clarify the axis of the new law, which is larger than conventional electronic commerce and encompasses many technical channels that facilitate interactions between customers and sellers. “Its primary goal is to boost business and investment activities in the UAE,” he explained.

 

This article was created using automation technology and was thoroughly edited and fact-checked by one of our editorial staff members

Tariq Saeed

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