The Consumer’s Right of Withdrawal from the Electronic Contract: A Study of the Qatari E-Commerce and Transactions Act Compared with the EU Directive on Consumers Rights

Prof. Nisreen Mahasneh
Professor of Civil Law – College of Law – University of Qatar

According to article 57 of the Qatari E-Commerce and Transactions Act no. 16/2010, the electronic consumer has the right to withdraw from both goods and services contracts, provided that this takes place within three days from the date of the contract. The EU Directive deals with the consumer’s right of withdrawal in more details. It allows withdrawal within fourteen days from the date of delivery in goods contracts, as well as fourteen day from the date of concluding a services contract. The Qatari law stipulates that withdrawal takes place only when the consumer has not used the goods, or benefited from them. As for services contracts, the consumer can withdraw only when performance has not taken place or has not been completed. However, in contrast with the EU Directive, Qatari Law does not deal with the mechanism of withdrawal, or its legal consequences. It has left all these matters to the general rules of law, such as putting parties at the same position they were in before contracting and the rules of enrichment.
This study concluded that the period of withdrawal under the Qatari Law is too short, besides, the starting point for goods and services contracts shall be considered in the same manner as considered by the EU Directive, because this minimizes the legal protection of the electronic consumer. Lastly, the Qatari Law does not consider the withdrawal right for the electronic consumer a public order rule, which negatively affects the legal protection.

Keywords: Consumer, withdrawal, e-contract, provider, withdrawal period

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