On 3 September 2015 Ukrainian Parliament adopted an Electronic Commerce Law (the “E-Commerce Law”).
The Ukrainian e-commerce sector keeps growing year after year. The Internet has already become a common shopping place for millions of Ukrainians. Yet until now Ukraine had no specialised legislation addressing that sector.
The primary purpose of the E-Commerce Law is to fully legalise e-contracts and to put them on the equal legal footing with the traditional paper-based ones. Parties to an e-contract may now use it as written evidence within court and/or administrative proceedings.
For that purpose the E-Commerce Law determines the parameters of e-contracts, the way they can be entered into, what shall be considered as evidence of a e-contract having been entered into, what documents parties to a e-contract shall be able to produce to tax/regulatory authorities in order to confirm the parameters of an e-contract, etc. It further addresses such issues as providing information or commercial communication (e.g. advertisements) and providing tools allowing for search, access and retrieval of data on-line.
According to the E-Commerce Law one can enter into an e-contract by:
- exchanging electronic messages;
- filling in an electronic form; or
- completing any action on a website that confirms one’s acceptance of an offer of another party and verifies the will of both parties to enter into an e-contract.
The E-Commerce Law also introduces a set of rights and obligations of the parties to e-contracts that is collateral to the ones listed in the Consumer Protection Law of Ukraine.
Under the provisions of the E-Commerce Law, an e-contract can be signed by:
- placing an electronic digital signature (according to the Electronic Digital Signature Law of Ukraine); or
- using one-time electronic identifier (a special code forwarded to the customer’s mobile phone or e-mail); or
- providing a scan copy of a party’s signature provided that the parties to an e-contract have earlier entered into a paper-based agreement bearing true samples of their signatures.
Use of Electronic Money and Payment Systems
The E-Commerce Law facilitates the use of e-money, money transfer or cash payments for on-line transactions.
Sellers will be obliged to provide buyers with the confirmation of payment (electronic receipts, check, tickets or in other acceptable form) under any type of payment made under an e-contract.
The E-Commerce Law guarantees protection of any personal data from its disclosure by the parties to an e-contract, except for the purposes of the transaction.
At the same time, the E-Commerce Law’s scope of application has certain exceptions. In particular, among other things, it does not apply to the following:
- transactions where another law provides for a special order of transfer of title (e.g. real estate agreements);
- betting, gambling or lotteries;
- transactions that are subject to notarisation and/or state registration; and
- public procurement.
The E-Commerce Law will become effective once it is signed by the President of Ukraine and upon its official promulgation.