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Protect consumers from unscrupulous retailers

While offenders must be dealt with strictly, any controls on prices need to be placed with caution

Gulf News

It is inevitable in free markets that prices rise and fall with changing supply and demand and the cost of producing goods and services. While the authorities must make sure that retailers and wholesalers do not abuse high demand at times like Ramadan, they should only intervene in the market with a light hand.

This year, as usual, the authorities have capped the price of a basket of goods to ensure that unscrupulous traders do not take advantage of consumers. Until now the Consumer Protection Department has issued 68 fines and warnings to stores in the UAE. This is necessary because regulations must be enforced to be effective.

Nonetheless, as ever, concern remains among consumers that retailers are hiking prices during Ramadan. Retailers insist that they are not making undue profits and their prices simply reflect the cost of providing goods.

All retailers cannot be tarred with the same brush. Where consumers suspect they are being taken advantage of, they must lodge a complaint with the authorities, who have shown they will investigate and take action where necessary.