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Press Dossier    By Date   06/04/2024 UAE's new digital law to cover all forms of payments, transactions

Khaleej Times, Sat, Apr 06, 2024 | Ramadan 27, 1445

UAE's new digital law to cover all forms of payments, transactions

Emirates: The UAE’s latest law covers all forms of online payment and digital transactions within and outside the country and also provides more protections to the consumers, said David Yates, partner and head of digital and data, Al Tamimi & Company.

“The new law is intended to regulate trade by any digital means available. E-commerce is traditionally based on websites. But digital trade has bloomed into multiple different ways such as buying and selling of goods and services whether on apps or blockchain which don’t fit the traditional e-commerce technology. This law abstracts the fundamental principles of trade and provides a definition of technological means which was not there in e-commerce regulations. It covers any digital means by which we can trade,” Yates told Khaleej Times in an interview on Thursday.

The UAE rolled out Federal Decree No. 14 of 2023 late last year, which covers all the existing digital payment and transactions aspects. The previous law covered only the e-commerce part, but the new law is much wider and provides more protection to consumers in the UAE.

“The law applies to buyers, and sellers through any digital means in the UAE and outside the UAE when the residents buy the product. However, there are a few exceptions and it doesn’t apply to government procurement, buying and selling of digital currencies and financial services. Those have been carved out,” Yates said.

He elaborated that the previous e-commerce law would not pick up transactions using 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 technological means that have not been developed yet. “The new law not just covers today’s technology, but it also covers that future technologies.”

He added that the law is very consumer-focused as there are a whole bunch of additional protections for consumers.

“For instance, it is mandatory that consumers can provide feedback on a window on digital platforms. It protects consumers against fraud. For instance, the consumer didn’t get what he/she saw online. There is an extra provision which says that you placed an order for a fresh product but it came late and you can’t eat it. You send it back. There is a time insistence there to deliver the product. You need to get a receipt. Importantly, it abstracts the idea of digital contracts. This law says that if there is a way to verify identity and form a contract, that is a valid contract.”

He added that the Executive Regulations will come later which will contain penalties and they will most likely focus on consumers getting a refund and an attempt to reconcile between the two parties.

Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy, said from the ability to rate their experiences and submit feedback to exercising choice and receiving advertising and marketing campaigns, the law seeks to place consumers at the heart of the digital economy.

“Moreover, it grants consumers the autonomy to opt in or out of advertising and marketing campaigns. Furthermore, the law introduces enhanced return and exchange rights, thereby instilling greater confidence among consumers. Moreover, There’s a restriction on imposing additional fees for digital payment methods and prohibition or binding concept counterparties to arbitration for dispute below a certain threshold,” he said.

Essam Al Tamimi, chairman, Al Tamimi & Company, stressed that it is important that the business community is aware of the new UAE law regulating trade through modern technology and how it will affect it. “We aim to clarify the axes of the new law, as it is broader than traditional electronic commerce and extends to various technological avenues facilitating interactions between consumers and sellers. Its primary objective is to bolster business and investment activities within the UAE,” he said.

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