The UAE is one of the premier shopping centers for many across the world. The vibrant shopping malls in Dubai are as popular as the iconic Burj Khalifa itself. Locals and visitors alike have endless shopping opportunities in the UAE, from bumper sales to shopping festivals and holidays. As a result, the officials have passed several consumer protection laws as part of the UAE’s attempts to further strengthen its position in the retail sector and as a shopping destination. The UAE has taken serious steps to ensure consumer’s trust in the marketplace and establish equal ties between consumers and businesses.
In this article, we will discuss the consumer protection laws in the UAE, the rights and responsibilities of a consumer, authorities on consumer laws in the UAE, the process of filing a consumer complaint in the UAE, and more details.
Consumer rights protection in the UAE
The protection of consumer rights and management of consumer issues is supervised by the Ministry of Economy. The Department for Consumer Safety under the Ministry of Economy oversees the consumer’s issues and protection of consumer rights. The list of duties performed by the Department is given below:
- Supervising the application of the general consumer protection policy in coordination with the authorities concerned.
- Coordinating with the authorities concerned to deal with unfair commercial practices that can potentially harm the customer.
- Coordinating and cooperating with the concerned authorities to raise the consciousness of the consumption of products and services and to notify consumers of their rights and of the means by which they are asserted.
- Controlling prices and attempt to minimize their rise.
- The promotion of fair competition and battle against monopoly.
- Receipt and settlement of customer complaints or referrals to appropriate authorities.
- Publish discussions and guidelines that lead to growing customer understanding.
As an additional measure, the Department began a section on its website in 2013 to announce the recall of items that have been damaged. This step was taken to protect the interests of customers, retailers, and suppliers and to preserve market stability.
The Ministry also has a hotline (600-522-225) through which you can obtain information about infringements of consumer rights. You can also send your queries at the Ministry’s email – email@example.com.
Consumer protection laws in the UAE
The UAE has made strong efforts to guarantee the trust of the customer in the market and to develop a reasonable relationship between customers and companies.
The Federal Consumer Protection Law 24 of 2006 describes the rights and responsibilities of consumers and outlines such safeguards to prevent consumer monopolies, overpricing, and illegal trade activity.
The general public is granted the following rights under Law 24 of 2006 on consumer protection:
- The right to protection/safety: the right of the customer for protection from goods and services that could harm their health and safety.
- The right to details: the consumer’s right to know about the products and services accurately. For example, a product’s origin, expiry date, ingredients in food items, etc.
- The right to pick: the right to choose from multiple options of competitively priced products and services of good quality.
- The right to voice opinion: the consumer’s right to comment on the quality and availability of the products.
- The right to become informed: the right of consumers to learn and to improve their skills through continuous awareness-raising campaigns and to increase the understanding about their rights and responsibilities. ??
The officials have also listed out the responsibilities of a customer which we have provided below:
- The customer must review the service or product descriptions, check the choices available, and compare them before transactions in compliance with the requirements, guarantee, and price.
- The customer shall look at the product or service to ensure that the product or service meets the agreed criteria.
- The buyer must document the seller’s agreements, ensure that the purchase invoice is obtained, and ascertain the invoice details before signing the invoice and leaving the store.
- The customer must ensure that the right recommendations are followed and that the product and service manual is followed.
- If there is a product or service issue the customer will visit the store before making a formal complaint with the Consumer Protection Department to explain the problem to the retailer to fix problem.
- In particular, the substitution and return policy would be familiar to customers with the shop policies.
- The customer shall report fraudulent activities and retailers not conforming to the laws and regulations of business.
The UAE Cabinet adopted a new federal law in 2019 on consumer protection in line with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries Unified Consumer Protection Act. In the face of technological innovations and the rapid growth of e-commerce, this law provides consumer security and governs the relationship between manufacturers, advertisers, and companies.
This law was formed as a part of government efforts to ensure full consumer safety and market stability in line with best practice in updating legislation that impacts the lives of people. The law aims to achieve the below-listed goals:
- Ensure consumer safety and price stability.
- Ensure the supply of goods and services to the needs of customers, in line with production and distribution trends.
- Limit and control policies that have detrimental impacts on customers.
- Promote sustainable consumption.
- Provide sufficient consumer security because of the advancements in e-commerce technology.
- Regulate the consumer safety function of manufacturers, marketers, and business agents.
- Provide the conditions needed to create a free market where consumers have a free option of fair prices.
- Encourage production and distributors of products and services to create a code of ethics.
Authorities on consumer’s rights in the UAE
In each emirate, the Department of Economic Development (DED) tackles issues relating to consumer rights and implements consumer protection plans and procedures. It collects complaints from customers and sensitizes consumers to their rights and duties.
We have provided the contact details of the DED in each emirate below:
Name: Dubai Economy
Contact: +971 55 524 3666
To register a complaint, click here.
Name: Sharjah Economic Development Department
Contact: +971 6 512 2222
Click here to register a complaint.
- Abu Dhabi
Name: Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development
Contact: +971 2 815 8888
Name: Ajman Department of Economic Development
Contact: +971 800 70
Click here to file a complaint online.
- Ras Al Khaimah
Name: Ras Al Khaimah Department of Economic Development
To file a complaint online, click here.
- Umm Al Quwain
Name: Umm Al Quwain Department of Economic Development
Contact: +971 2 8158888
In addition to the DED, there are other government regulated departments that oversee and manage consumer rights in the UAE.
Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology
The Emirates Standardization and Metrology Authority is a federal body that provides protection and qualitative measures for goods manufactured in or transported from the UAE. Special items relating to chemical, gas, or electrical devices are subject to the required requirements of the Authority. It complies with common international standards on consumer, market, and environmental safety.
Abu Dhabi Quality and Conformity Council
Abu Dhabi Quality and Conformity Council in the Abu Dhabi emirate is responsible for making the public aware of the quality standards and the construction of quality infrastructure. The Council implemented a framework known as ‘Manaa’ for consumer protection services that offer accurate information about any product in compliance with the safety laws.
The Council has introduced a ‘Quality Partner Initiative’ to enable companies to adhere to applicable quality, safety, and technical standards and regulations through self-assessment and voluntary contribution schemes.
Abu Dhabi Agriculture & Food Safety Authority
In the Abu Dhabi Emirate, the Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Protection Authority is responsible for food security and agriculture, as well as animal wealth. It encourages and facilitates research into all food safety and agriculture areas that contribute to the establishment of standards and regulations in its areas of responsibility that are consistent with the latest scientific knowledge.
Process of filing a consumer complaint in the UAE
As mentioned earlier, consumer complaints are registered and managed by the DED of each emirate. The details along with the link to complaint pages have been provided in the previous section. In this section, we will discuss the process of lodging a customer complaint in the DED of Dubai. It’s important to note that you must file a complaint in the DED of the emirate in which you made the purchase. Also, make sure to check that the trade license of the defendant was issued in the emirate in which you are lodging a complaint. Now, let us have a look at the process of filing a consumer complaint in the UAE:
Step 1: Visit the Department of Economy consumer’s right website.
Step 2: Go to the ‘Submit Complaint’ tab. Then click on Consumer Complaints (C2B).
Step 3: You will receive a prompt. Go through the instructions and click on the ‘Confirm’ button.
Step 4: Enter your details such as name, mobile number, email, and nationality.
Step 5: Enter the details of the defendant such as name, sector, complaint type, subject, and details.
Step 6: Attach the relevant documents such as receipt or contract.
Step 7: Agree to the terms and conditions by checking the box. Then click on the ‘Submit’ button.
You can also file a complaint through the ‘Dubai consumer’ mobile application which can be downloaded from Apple App Store or Google Play Store.
Filing a complaint in the rest of the DEDs across the UAE is similar to the process given above. Irrespective of the emirate, you have to submit the following details to file a consumer complaint:
- Mobile Number
- Complaint type
- Complaint details
Complaint against the employer
The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE), formerly known as the Ministry of Labor, is committed to regulating the provision of labor and settlement of conflicts at the workplace in the UAE. The ministry has put specific regulations in effect to protect workers’ rights. In case you encounter unfair treatment at work, you can report it by MOHRE.
Process to file a complaint
To register a complaint through the MOHRE website, follow the steps mentioned below:
Step 1: Visit the official website – mohre.gov.ae.
Step 2: In the ‘Services’ section, select the ‘Register Labor Complaints’ option.
Step 3: Click on the ‘Start service’ tab.
Step 4: Choose complaint type.
Step 5: Enter details such as your name, work permit number, and unified number.
Step 6: Enter complaint request details.
Step 7: Click on the ‘Submit’ button.
You can also register your complaint by contacting the call center of MOHRE through the given number +971 4 607 3555. Another way to file a complaint against your employer is to contact Tasheel service centers. Tasheel is an initiative of MOHRE to boost the management of labor processes. To register a complaint through Tasheel, you are required to visit the nearest Tasheel service center. Provide the required documents (such as an offer letter) to the concerned official at the center along with your contact details. Your complaint will be registered after the verification of details and documents.
Check complaint status
Follow the steps listed below to check your complaint status:
Step 1: Go to the official portal of MOHRE e-service.
Step 2: Enter the reference number of your complaint.
Step 3: Click on the ‘Submit’ button.
The status of your complaint will be displayed on the screen.
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