Dubai: The UAE has always had a reputation for being a shopping hub. From massive sales to entire festivals for shopping, residents and visitors have endless options when it comes to shopping in the UAE.
As part of the UAE's efforts to further cement its position as a retail destination, the country has brought into effect several consumber protection laws.
Yesterday, the UAE cabinet approved another consumer protection law to protect consumers and allow them full freedom to choose commodities at fair prices.
The UAE has made keen efforts to ensure the consumer's confidence in the market and to create a fair relationship between consumers and businesses.
Here is a timeline of the consumer protection efforts enacted by the UAE:
What is the 2006 consumer protection law?
The Federal Law No. 24 of 2006 on Consumer Protection defines consumer's rights and obligations and outlines certain protection measures to fight monopoly, overpricing and fraudulent commercial activities against consumers.
According to the law, UAE consumers are granted the following rights:
• The Right to Safety: to be protected from products, production processes and services that may cause harm to health and safety
• The Right to Know: to know the accurate information concerning the goods and services (ex: origin of products, expiry date and ingredients of food items etc.)
• The Right to Choose: to have multiple options of items and services at competitive prices and quality
• The Right to Representation: to express opinions to develop the goods, services, prices and availability
• The Right to Be Informed: to acquire knowledge and skill and awareness of consumer rights and responsibilities through continuous awareness programmes.
Government charter on customer service
In 2011, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai launched the Customer Charter for Federal Government Services. The Charter aims to ensure customer's happiness with federal government services, which are rendered with speed, professionalism, mutual respect and transparency.
What is the consumer protection law that was passed on December 25, 2019?
The Consumer Protection Law, approved by the Cabinet chaired by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, aims to ensure price stability as per the best practices and curbs any practices that may have negative impacts on consumers and lead to price hike.
The law, which provides protection to consumers in light of technological developments and rapid growth in e-commerce, regulates the relationship between suppliers, advertisers and commercial agents.
It forms part of government efforts to keep updated legislation that affect the lives of citizens and residents in order to ensure the full protection for consumers and price stability in accordance with the best practices.
The UAE is not alone in implementing strict consumer laws and these initiatives are part of a GCC-wide effort to curb malpractices in the retail sector.
What is the GCC’s Unified Law on Consumer protection?
The law is in line with the GCC’s Unified Law on Consumer Protection, in a manner that ensures legislative integration between the GCC Countries. It also aims to continue providing adequate protection to consumers in light of the technological advancement and accelerated growth seen by the electronic commerce. The law also ensures the delivery of goods and services according to production and distribution patterns tailored to consumers’ needs and limits any practices that may have negative impacts on consumers.
Who manages consumer rights protection in the UAE?
The Ministry of Economy manages consumer issues from across the UAE. It has a Consumer Protection Department, which manages the following duties:
1. Supervising the execution of the general policy for consumer protection in cooperation with the authorities concerned
2. Co-ordinating with the authorities concerned to confront unfair commercial practices which harm the consumer
3. Co-ordinating and cooperating with the authorities concerned to spread awareness on the consumption of goods and services and to inform consumers of their rights and the means of claiming them
4. Controlling prices and striving to limit their increase
5. Seeking for the achievement of fair competition and combating monopoly
6. Receiving and resolving consumer complaints or referring them to competent authorities
7. Publishing the discussions and recommendations that contribute to increasing consumer awareness.
Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology (ESMA)
Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology (ESMA) is a federal entity that provides safety and quality measures for products, whether made in the UAE or brought in from abroad. The authority imposes mandatory standards on special products related to chemicals, gas and electrical devices. Its measures comply with common international standards adopted in the field of protection of consumers, markets and environment.
Abu Dhabi Quality and Conformity Council
Abu Dhabi Quality and Conformity Council is responsible for developing quality infrastructure and raising awareness on quality standards in the emirate of Abu Dhabi. The Council introduced a consumer safety services system, known as 'Manaa', which provides reliable information on any product and its compatibility with safety regulations.
The Council also launched a 'Quality Partner Program' to encourage businesses to conform to relevant quality, safety and technical standards and regulations through self-assessment and voluntary commitment schemes.
Abu Dhabi Agriculture & Food Safety Authority- ADAFSA
Abu Dhabi Agriculture & Food Safety Authority is responsible for food safety and agriculture in the emirate of Abu Dhabi; it is also responsible for animal wealth. It encourages and supports research in all areas of food safety and agriculture that leads to the development of specifications, standards and regulations that match the latest scientific knowledge in its areas of responsibility.
How can I know if a product has been recalled?
In 2013, the UAE Ministry of Economy launched a section on their website for announcing the recall of damaged products. This was done to protect the rights of consumers, retailers and manufacturers as well as to maintain stability in the market. Consumers can find out which products might have been recalled, and the reason for the recall. The section covers recalls of vehicles, electronics and health and safety.
How can I raise a consumer complaint in the UAE?
For raising a complaint with the Ministry of Economy, you can contact their consumer protection department.
Official working hours in the ministry from 7:30 am to 2:30 pm
Official working hours during Ramadan from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm
Apart from the Ministry of economy, individual emirates also have a Department of Economic Development (DED), which deal with consumer rights issues and implement plans and procedures related to consumer protection laws.
Based on the emirate in which you have made the purchase, you can contact the Department of Economic Development.
To file a complaint with the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, you can do so through the following channels:
1. Abu Dhabi Government Contact Center on 800 555
2. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
3. Personal visit to the Department of Economic Development
4. The Department’s social media channels.
You can also visit the departments website here.
The following details must be provided:
1. Name of the complainant, mobile phone number, and email address, if any.
2. Copy of the complainant’s identity.
3. Purchase invoice or any other documents that prove the commercial transaction conducted between the two parties.
What are the procedures that the Department takes upon receiving complaints?
1. The complaint is verified by the Consumer Protection Department and the complainant is then contacted to acquire further details, when needed.
2. The commercial establishment is then contacted and informed of the complaint filed against along with its details according to what the complainant states. Also, the Department listens to the commercial establishment’s statements and checks any proofs that it may submit in this regard.
3. The Department contacts all parties to reach an amicable or legal agreement between them as per the requirements of the complaints and the consumer protection laws.
In Dubai, you can submit a consumer complaint through the Smart Protection and get the approved empowerment letter that is generated within five minutes in order to resolve your complaint by using these channels:
1. Download Dubai Consumer application
You can submit a complaint in a traditional way by using the Dubai Consumer application and Consumer Protection employee will contact you within four working days.
You can submit a consumer complaint by filling the complaint form in details and attaching the invoice or contract and other supporting documents. Consumer Protection employee will contact you within four working days.
3. Call Center
You can submit a consumer complaint by contacting Call Centre on +971 600 545555
To complain in other emirates, click on the links below.
- Information courtesy government.ae