Ahmad Mohammed Sharif Al Awadhi (centre) and Abdullatif Mohamed Al Marzouqi on an official visit to Spice Souk. Image Credit: Arshad Ali/Gulf News

Dubai: Vendors at the Dubai Spice Market [Bandar Taleb Souq] were advised to display price tags on their products during a visit by officials from the Department of Economic Development (DED) in Dubai on Thursday.

The visit was a part of the DED’s 2017 goals to raise awareness on consumer rights, and to ensure that all local souqs in Dubai have business practices compatible with the commercial laws in the UAE. “We have started with a friendly visit, which will be followed up with further inspections during which warnings will be issued and eventually fines will be imposed on those who don’t comply,” said Ahmad Mohammad Sharif Al Awadhi, director of Consumer Protection Division at the DED, during the visit.

He said not displaying price tags on products is the most common violation among vendors at local markets.

Vendors must place tags or stickers clearly indicating the prices on all products on display including spices and herbs, to ensure equal treatment to all residents and tourists, added Al Awadhi.

He called on consumers to contact the DED on its hotline or through social media platforms to report any irregularities witnessed in the market such as price increases.

“Prices need to be fixed and displayed so that tourists are not taken advantage of and consumers of specific nationalities are not given special prices or preferred over others,” said Abdul Latif Mohammad Al Marzouqi, senior manager of the Consumer Protection Division at the DED.

While prices of specific products may fluctuate, vendors are allowed to change the prices of items as often as needed, however price tags must be on display at all times, he explained.

“We take into consideration the multicultural nature of different markets in Dubai, however these changes need to be made so that all consumers are treated fairly,” said Al Marzouqi.

During the visit, vendors were also told to avoid disturbing or harassing consumers and tourists by calling them into their stores. They were further advised to clearly display the DED tent card, which includes a list of consumer rights and the DED’s Consumer Protection hotline number.

“It is mandatory to display the tent card in every shop. We are distributing the cards in all markets, and they can also be printed from the DED’s website,” said Al Marzouqi.

He pointed out that the spice market, which is a hub for spices and food products, has seen steady development in raising the level of consumer satisfaction.

The DED team also spoke with consumers at the market, and noted down their suggestions and informed them of their rights.

To file a comment or complaint at the DED, call 600545555.