UAE | Government

It is never too late to exercise your consumer rights

All goods are either subjected to a refund or exchange if documentation is in order

  • By Mariam M. Al Serkal, Senior Reporter
  • Published: 21:56 January 19, 2013
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Zarina Fernandes/Gulf News Archives
  • Every single retail outlet displays a yellow poster on consumer rights that seeks to spread awareness.

Dubai: Finding out at home that the product you bought is defective should not stop you from exercising your rights as a consumer, a senior official said.

With the shopping season under way, thousands of retail transactions are conducted in Dubai daily. You may not have noticed, but every single retail outlet displays a yellow poster on consumer rights that seeks to spread awareness.

In 2012, the Consumer Protection Division received 8,700 complaints compared with 6,939 complaints in 2011. A senior official at the division said the increase reflects growing awareness about consumer rights in Dubai and people’s confidence that there are systems in place to protect those rights.

Abdul Aziz Bin Hathboor, Director of Consumer Protection at the Department of Economic Development in Dubai, told Gulf News that all goods are either subjected to a refund or exchange. Inspectors only follow up on complaints.

Some of the main issues the Department of Economic Development deals with, Bin Hathboor noted, are those pertaining to manufacturing defects, faulty products or those which are incompatible with the environment in the UAE.

“For example, if an air conditioner does not provide the required coolness because it is not manufactured to function properly in the UAE environment, then according to Federal Law No 24 of 2006, it is seen as a faulty product. Such a product needs to be either repaired or exchanged if repair is not possible, and if it cannot be exchanged the consumer is entitled to a refund. The same procedure applies to defective products,” he said.

However, customers are urged to play an active role in protecting their rights by understanding a product’s warranty, guarantee, storage and method of use before making a purchase, according to the Consumer Protection Department. Customers should always request a receipt and ensure that the details written on it are correct, and should understand the details of the after-sale services and warranties.

“Any claim for exchange or refund should be made within the warranty period specified by the manufacturer or as per UAE law if the manufacturer or the seller did not specify the warranty period,” Bin Hathboor explained.

“Services can also be considered faulty if they don’t match the warranty period given by the service provider. In such cases, the service provider should provide the expected service again or refund the service charge if the service fails to hold for the second time.”

Bin Hathboor pointed out that once the department takes up a complaint and makes a decision, the outlet has to abide by it or risk its licence being temporarily suspended. “Sometimes, a fine can be imposed if the offender does not cooperate when requested to present himself before the Consumer Protection division,” he said.

Comments (8)

  1. Added 14:44 January 20, 2013

    Exercising consumer rights is not easy. I had to wait for 1 hour in queue to return the defective product. They delay it and slows down the process at some stores. Which means basically they discourage it or deny it.

    Seddiqi, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 14:06 January 20, 2013

    Many stores do not have warranty on the products they sell, it's all at buyers risk. Unlucky if you find a damaged/non-working item, some stores will not take any responsibility for refund or exchange. For such products or for stores how can complaints work? Online discount promoters like Cobone & Groupon to do not carry any sole responsibility for the products that they stage on their websites - how is the turnaround going to work with such cases of consumer rights?

    Jatin, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  3. Added 13:45 January 20, 2013

    Always check your electronic products at the time of taking delivery. Some hypermarkets might hand over broken/faulty products to you, like in my case. When I bought a new TV there was no facility at the store to check if it was working and they refused to take it back the next day, saying customer had broken it. In this case even the consumer protection cannot help. We should know our duties first.

    Ambarish Tripathi, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  4. Added 11:23 January 20, 2013

    Fish items displayed in some big shops are also needs to undergo some regular or surprise visits by concerned departments. Many times we believe the goods will be in proper condition, but we would have experienced that fish will not be fresh after we reach home. How can we complain on these issues? We are paying high for the same fish compared to fish markets rate, but ending up with low quality.

    Sarav, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  5. Added 11:05 January 20, 2013

    Nowadays many products on the market are not good quality, obbviously because of the cost factor. Unfortunately, people are not aware of their rights up to now. Sometimes we feel very bad and this also affects us mentally. To support this statement I had a bitter experience while I was going to India for my annual vacation. I bought a remote control helicoptor toy from a shopping mall in Al Nahda - Sharjah for my 3 year old daughter. At the time of purchase the sales person explained to me no need to check because that is a factory sealed packing. When I reached my home and gave the gift to my daughter it was unfortunately not working. At that time I was not worried about the loss of money, but everybody can imagine my mental situation. I didn't raised a complaint because of my time schedule, as I had no time to waste for a little amount. However, after that incident and for the last three years my family and I have not visited that mall. The authorities all over the UAE should take strong and strict action against fake products and also provide compensation to the customers in addition to the value of the product. Also, display the contact numbers for complaints clearly visible to customers in each and every shop. I also appreciate Gulf News for bringing this issue in front of people.

    Anil Kollakadavu, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  6. Added 10:14 January 20, 2013

    I previously submitted a complaint against a utility management company, but I got no response from the department although I tried to follow up with it so many times.

    Resident, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  7. Added 10:10 January 20, 2013

    Most perishable items in some small grocery stores are expired but never removed from the shelves, leaving consumers to look at expiry dates of all products before purchasing. A law should be enacted to make the supermarket liable to remove expired products.

    Savio, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  8. Added 09:21 January 20, 2013

    It is good to know that the consumer's interest is best protected by this law. There are things sold in the market which were not produced for long term use or with low quality. Now manufacturers will make their product durable and in the end consumer will benefit from this.

    Fate, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

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