Consumer rights

License is essential for running businesses, ministries tell online stores

Saudi Gazette report

JEDDAH — The Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development (MHRSD) have pointed out that online stores wishing to legally sell products online must apply for a registration certificate from the Ministry of Commerce or an independent license from the Freelance platform, which is managed by the MHRSD.

The two ministries stressed that stores should comply with e-commerce requirements and provisions of the e-commerce law to protect consumer rights.

The Electronic Commerce Council has highlighted the importance of applying for a business registration certificate for people who engage in e-commerce activities so that they can continue to operate legally.

While stressing the need to respect consumer rights, the council said business registration certificates could be issued electronically. If the applicant’s business activity requires a license from another government entity, the applicant must also meet those requirements.

The council pointed out that this step aims to increase the reliability of e-commerce transactions, as well as to defend the rights of consumers and merchants, in addition to eliminating counterfeit companies.

The Ministry of Commerce has recently uncovered cases of non-compliance and violation of consumer rights, apart from fraudulent practices perpetrated by some stores run by individuals who do not have a registration certificate.

According to the council, stores that have received a registration certificate must implement the following 13 reliability standards in e-commerce, namely: 1- Have a contact number for communication; 2- Have an e-mail; 3- Provide chat option.

It must also have: 4- Provide secure electronic payment through official banking channels; 5- Allow the consumer to file a complaint online; 6- Allow the consumer to file a complaint via social networks; 7- Disclose the exact time to respond to a complaint.

In addition: 8 – Communicate the exact deadline for processing a complaint; 9 -Disclose the exact time of delivery before finalizing the purchase and indicate this information on the invoice; 10- The store supports the Arabic language as an option to file a complaint; 11 -Use Arabic in chat; 12- Display products in Arabic and 13 -Have a clear and written return or refund policy.