Consumer Protection Update

It is a piece of great news that the amended UAE consumer protection law has come into force, introducing integrated regulatory mechanisms and clear procedures to enable robust business practices to enhance consumer satisfaction and well-being.

The scope of the law is very broad and applies to companies trading in physical stores as well as E-commerce platforms of online businesses encompassing suppliers, advertisers, and commercial agents.

We know fines act as a deterrent therefore the amended consumer protection law imposes appropriate penalties to deter service providers, agents, and suppliers from violations. Penalties will be applied, ranging from a warning to fines. In some instances, they could lead to license cancellation or deregistration in the case of repeat offenses.

The amended UAE consumer protection law takes a stricter stand on businesses that break rules on the supply of goods and services to consumers and such transgressors shall be liable for fines of up to Dh1 million.

This newly amended law illustrates the commitment to protect consumer rights, including the right to a standard quality of goods and services and the right to obtain them at the declared price. The new law demands merchants to put not only a selling price on goods but rather price products by unit. And also regulates labelling, pricing, warranties, spare parts, and defects aiming to further safeguard consumer rights and health and safety. The amended law stipulates measures to control price hikes whilst ensuring customers have guarantees over the quality of goods and services.

To quote the words of Abdullah Al Saleh, undersecretary of the Ministry of Economy, “This ensures the highest levels of transparency in setting prices, thus avoiding any misleading offers. It also enables consumers to choose from a range of alternative goods, and compare prices effortlessly.”

There are 43 obligations for businesses listed in the updated law, relating to the warranty of a product, prices, invoices, and replacement of products and it also lists 46 administrative sanctions that can be imposed either by the ministry or the local authority against the supplier “if there is any inconsistency in the terms of his agreement with the consumer”.

Undoubtedly these provisions shall encourage manufacturers and distributors to stick to a code of ethics.

The empowerment of local authorities is truly a remarkable feature of this law. They are granted legal powers to receive, follow up, and act on consumer complaints, to impose administrative sanctions and fines for acts committed in breach of the provisions of the law, as well as act on grievances submitted against decisions on punitive measures. This new complaint mechanism makes aggrieved consumers’ lives easier through expedited dispute resolution which avoids seeking the judiciary’s intervention for every breach of consumer rights.

The above reflects exemplary best practices of a fair and free market for consumers at par with or surpassing the global economies. These measures boost the economic competitiveness of the UAE and further strengthen the UAE’s stature as one of the most preferred places to live and trade globally.

Disclaimer

This publication does not provide any legal advice and it is for information purposes only. You should not rely upon the material or information in this publication as a basis for making any business, legal or other decisions. Therefore, any reliance on such material is strictly at your own risk.

Author: Thara Kumar 

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Paralegal Thara Kumar

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Paralegal Thara Kumar

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