New law aims to regulate e-commerce and protect consumer rights

Last week the Ukrainian parliament adopted a long-awaited law to regulate electronic transactions in the countries. The law will essentially guarantee equal legal status and guarantees for electronic and traditional transactions.

The new law provides a legal definition to such terms as “electronic transaction,” “electronic message,” and “Internet store,” the latter being described as “a method of selling an item by way of electronic transaction.”

Any electronic transaction must be supported by an electronic confirmation in the form of electronic receipts. Thus electronic deals will be regarded as valid by courts, tax offices and other governmental bodies, and the rights of online buyers will be secured by the law on the protection of consumers’ rights.

Each electronic transaction must include the usage of a “one-time identifier,” which is a digital code sent to the buyer via email or phone. This code may be used to verify the transaction.

Industry representatives and lawmakers had discussed law projects for several years. The current law, which passed its first reading in June 2014, was authored by Olha Belkova, a member of Petro Poroshenko’s Bloc and the former managing partner of the East Labs business accelerator.

The law will enter into force after being signed by President Petro Poroshenko.

According to the Ukrainian Association of Direct Marketing (UADM), Ukraine’s online retail market reached some $2 billion in 2013, up 25% from the previous year, which corresponded to approximately 2% of the total retail market. Market growth stopped in 2014 as the country entered a serious political and economic crisis, with market volume falling by some 20% in dollar terms due to the hryvnia’s fall.

Some positive trends are being witnessed in 2015, such as the development of mobile versions and mobile payment methods, improvement in marketing, usability and logistics, and the growth of several sites and marketplaces.

The UADM experts expect strong growth to resume when peace is restored. “Ukraine is likely to follow the path of such countries as Poland, Latvia or Russia, where e-commerce has witnessed dramatic growth over the past years,” the association wrote in a recent report.

Sources: AIN.UA, Kyiv Post, Solydarnist.

  • A report on the Ukrainian e-commerce market has been released by the Ukrainian Direct Marketing Association (UADM) in partnership with Ukraine Digital News. To download a free summary, please click here.
Topics: E-commerce, Legal, Legislation & regulation
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