Business | Retail

Tougher penalties for price manipulation

Modified penalties as retailers face up to Dh1 million in fines for offences

  • By Zaher Bitar, Staff Reporter
  • Published: 17:21 June 21, 2012
  • Gulf News

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Dubai: The UAE Ministry of Economy has increased fines up to ten fold warning retailers engaged in price manipulation and those selling substandard products that they face fines of up to Dh1 million under a revised version of the Consumer Protection Law.

The ministry modified certain articles of the federal Consumer Protection Law in May by drafting tough penalties to prevent monopoly and price manipulation, a senior government official told Gulf News.

The fine of the suppliers who manipulate prices or violate exchange and refund rules or promote goods that may harm the consumer will go up ten fold from Dh10,000 to Dh100,000 and this could reach Dh1 million, according to the modified law.

“The new version of the Consumer Protection Law is filling the gaps of the old law and will strengthen the penalty provisions and ensure enforcement,” Dr Hashim Al Nuaimi, director of the Consumer Protection Department at the Ministry of Economy, said.

The new amendments tackle issues relating to consumer rights, responsibilities and liabilities and specify penalties to be imposed for commercial malpractices, he added.

The UAE government has stepped up its campaign to strengthen consumer rights in recent years.

Doubling of fines

For those who repeat the offence, the fines will be doubled and a retailer may face the closure of his business. Unfair practices such as selling defective or substandard goods, overpricing, and a failure to adhere to standards will be strictly monitored. “It is necessary to evolve statutory measures to make producers and traders more accountable to consumers,” he said.

Al Nuaimi said the government now aims to step up its drive against violators and will not be lenient on those engaged in illegal practices.

“The penalties would vary from warning and fines to the closure of shops,” he said.

Al Nuaimi said that the ministry has deployed almost 40 teams of inspectors to carry out the inspections in cooperation with UAE municipalities.

These municipalities will also conduct daily inspections to monitor prices and compliance with pre-set prices and consumer rights. Al Nuaimi urged consumers to contact the ministry directly or any economic department in the country to file complaints against retailers flouting the rules.

“It is necessary as a consumer to know that your rights are secured by all the laws and regulations of the UAE,” he said.

Consumers can report violations to the ministry by calling 600522225.

Penalties

- A fine of not less than Dh100,000 an not more than Dh1 million in case of violating exchange and refund rules, promoting goods that may harm the consumer or price manipulation

- A fine of not less than Dh10,000 and not more than Dh200,000 in cases where the consumer is deceived about the goods price and quality of goods as well as in warranty policy

- A find of not less than Dh20,000 and not more than Dh120,000 in cases where the supplier offers unsafe products or violates the guarantee and repair policy.

 

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