The volume of e-commerce transactions in the Saudi market amounted to around SR2.25 billion ($600 million) in 2016, according to Abdulrahman Al-Qahtani, secretary-general of the Consumer Protection Society (CPS).
Al-Qahtani said it is necessary to protect consumers who engage in online transactions from fraud and exploitation, which can occur due to deceptive advertisements and unfair practices.
He also called for the development of transparent laws and policies that take into consideration differences in dealings, which occur beyond the boundaries of local consumer-protection laws.
Current regulations do not differentiate between e-commerce transactions and online dealings in general, which is an issue that should be tackled by legislators collaborating with government and private specialists by drafting regulations. The financial and technical aspects of e-commerce should also be addressed, Al-Qahtani said.
He appreciated the efforts exerted by relevant entities in this regard. However, there is an urgent need for developing comprehensive government regulations that ensure consumer rights are protected when they shop online, he said.
Al-Qahtani said that all laws pertaining to e-commerce should be unified in a single legal framework that regulates all electronic transactions.
In a statement issued to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) on World Consumer Rights Day, which was observed on March 15, Al-Qahtani said that the Kingdom should benefit from the exemplary frameworks and legislations formulated by a number of regional and international entities to organize e-commerce.
Every year a theme is chosen for World Consumer Rights Day, and this year it was “Building a digital world consumers can trust.”