Online shopping still in its infancy in KSA

Updated 30 January 2016

Online shopping still in its infancy in KSA

DAMMAM: About 5 percent of Saudis shop online, and online marketplaces occupy 25 to 30 percent of the total market, according to recent statistics.
Online shopping has a number of risks relating to poor credibility, fraud and delivery delay by some companies and websites. This is true because of the absence of legislation and laws that organize cyberspace and can punish those trying to abuse this way of shopping.
Experts confirm that there are no laws in the Kingdom to protect e-shoppers. They call on the Ministry of Commerce to enact strict procedures to protect them, especially with regard to payment on foreign shopping sites, and identifying specialized companies, not banks, to supervise the payment process.
Recently, 26 accounts on social networks were closed by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry’s teams responsible of combating counterfeiting and commercial fraud. Those accounts published about 20,000 ads for counterfeit and fake products.
The ministry called on consumers to avoid dealing with those unauthorized websites, and confirmed its follow-up on the distributors of counterfeit and fake goods to prevent their marketing through social networks. It stressed that there is no hesitation in the application of statutory procedures for offenders and those involved in the fraud and counterfeiting, and anything that puts the health and safety of consumers at risk.
Naif Al-Sharif, associate professor of commercial law at the Faculty of Law at King Abdulaziz University, said: “There is no law to regulate the means of e-commerce, as the existing law is just a draft.” He said that the goal of e-commerce law in general was to strengthen confidence in the authenticity and integrity of e-commerce transactions, provide the necessary legal protection for consumers, as well as supporting and developing e-commerce.
He said that the draft obliges the e-seller to disclose important information to the consumer, including the merchant’s name or trade name, the means of communication, proof that the seller is registered on the website and confirming that the e-seller is obliged to present the consumer with a bill containing the price and date.
Abdullah Al-Maghlouth, a member of the Saudi Economic Association, said: “E-marketing is a rapid method for purchasing goods, but the Chambers of Commerce should organize workshops and educational seminars to increase awareness for those interested in this kind of shopping.” He noted that e-commerce is spreading around the world and includes all kinds of products and services.

Saudi Arabia, South Korea reach agreement on visas

King Salman chairs the Cabinet session in Riyadh on Tuesday. (SPA)
Updated 16 January 2019

Saudi Arabia, South Korea reach agreement on visas

  • Cabinet OKs air transport pact with Indonesia

JEDDAH: The Saudi Cabinet met to discuss a series of national and global developments on Tuesday, in a session chaired by King Salman.

At the forefront of the agenda was the escalation in tensions between Israel and Hamas along the Gaza border, and the continuing encroachment on Palestinian land by Israeli settlers in the West Bank. The Cabinet responded by demanding that the UN Security Council intervene. King Salman also relayed to ministers the outcome of his talks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, which covered many regional issues.

The minister of media, Turki bin Abdullah Al-Shabanah, announced that after reviewing proposals from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a decision from the Shoura Council, a memorandum of understanding between the government and the Republic of Korea on granting visit visas had been agreed upon.

The Cabinet approved the amendment of the air agreement on regular air transport between Saudi Arabia and Indonesia.

The Cabinet, meanwhile, praised the progress of the 2025 Sustainable Agricultural and Rural Development Program, aimed at enhancing farming techniques by promoting sustainable water and renewable energy sources.

They also discussed the framework in Vision 2030 and the National Transformation Program 2020 for building a sustainable renewable energy sector, reiterating aims to lead global renewable energy developments over the next decade, and create projects such as the wind-powered plant at Dumat Al-Jandal, as part of the King Salman Renewable Energy Initiative.

In a statement, though, Al-Shabanah said: “The Cabinet discussed the announcement made by the minister of energy, industry and mineral resources about the Kingdom’s oil and gas reserves, which highlighted the importance of Saudi Arabia as a secure source of oil supplies in the long term.”

He added, in closing, the Cabinet’s praise for the efforts of Saudi security forces in the tracking and arrest of seven people in Qatif, which foiled a planned terrorist attack.