The Ministry of Commerce and Investment would like to emphasize the preservation of consumer's rights by providing the necessary protection, while he is making any commercial transactions. MCI has developed Consumer Protection Regulations to preserve and protect the rights of consumers, including the Anti-Commercial Fraud Law and the Trademark System. In this context, if a consumer buys a commodity, and it turned out to be defective or adulterated, or counterfeited, then he has the right to return such defective item and claim for refunding the amount he has paid.
Selling defective, or counterfeited, or forged products, bearing famous trademarks, is considered contrary to Consumer Protection Regulations, and it is punishable by a fine of up to one million riyals or imprisonment for up to three years, or both.
Notably, the Ministry of Commerce and Investment receives the consumers' reports and complaints through the toll free number (1900), or through the application of a Commercial Violation Report, or via the Ministry's website, or through the Ministry's accounts on the Social Media.
According to MCI competence, the Ministry supervises and monitors the commercial promotions offered by the shops, e-platforms and social networking sites. MCI verifies and ensures that such promotions are regular, real and conform to the Consumer Protection Regulations. MCI responses directly to consumers' complaints and reports, received by the Consumer Call Center 1900. In that regard, necessary legal measures are taken against the violators.
The Ministry has established a specialized department to supervise and monitor the e-stores and link the Consumer Call Center directly with liaison officers of all major e-stores in order to speed-up the communication immediately and to solve any complaints from such stores, in case the complaints are not solved, necessary measures would be taken, including imposing penalties, as stipulated in the Rules & Regulations.
The Ministry also issues commercial registrations for e-commerce and e-marketing activities, besides granting the owners "Ma'arouf" E-Certificate.
The Cabinet has recently approved the E-Commerce Law, prepared by the Ministry, which aims to support and develop e-commerce activities, also to enhance the confidence in e-commerce transactions. MCI is working on the preparation of E-Commerce Executive Regulations, to be achieved within 90 days of approving such law.
According to the regulations, the Ministry of Commerce and Investment supervises the e-commerce sector and issues the necessary rules to regulate this sector, in a way that enhances the role of e-commerce and protects the integrity of its transactions. This includes the organization process of the authorities in charge of authenticating and approving the e-stores and e-platforms that act as mediators between the service provider and the consumer.
Any person who violates the provisions of the E-Commerce Law shall be punished with penalties starting with warning, a fine of up to (1,000,000) million riyals, temporary or permanent suspension of e-commerce activity, and partial or total blocking of the e-store site, temporarily or permanently, in coordination with the competent authority.
As part of its efforts in this field, and in coordination and cooperation with the competent authorities, the Ministry of Commerce and Investment has blocked a website for a foreign e-store and its relevant application, in addition to more than 90 accounts on social media sites, because these sites are marketing counterfeit goods, bearing trademarks registered with the Ministry. These products include: perfumes, cosmetics, clothing, shoes, watches, bags, gifts and others. This procedure has been taken starting from early 2018 to the end of the first half of 2019. The number of followers of these accounts exceeded 1.5 million.