Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Consumer Rights in Dubai and UAE

The Consumer Rights Division of the Department of Economic Development promotes consumer rights and fair trading in Dubai by:
providing information and advice to consumers and retailer / sellers about their rights and responsibilities;
helping consumers resolve disputes with retailer / sellers;
investigating complaints about unfair trading practices;
regulating business activities
The Dubai DED is the only government department dedicated to raising awareness of consumers' and retailers' rights and responsibilities and through the Commercial Compliance and Consumer Protection Division, the Department will also deal with any relevant disputes.
To raise awareness of the Consumer Rights Federal Law (24) 2006 published BLUE BOOK

Consumer Code of Rights
1. Goods must meet a level of quality and performance that would be reasonable to expect, given their price and specifications.
2. Goods must be suitable for the purpose that the seller conveys to the consumer, and match the description given to the consumer
3. Services must be carried out with due care and skill
4. Materials used in connection with a service should meet customer requirements
5. Consumers have rights to remedies in the case that there are problems with goods or services provided:

    Repairs, replacements and refunds depending on the nature of goods
    Having services supplied again or refund its value if cannot be done again.
Consumer Rights Responsibilities
1. Understand product warrantees, guarantees, origin, storage, expiry and the method of use prior to making a purchase
2. Request a receipt from the seller and ensure that the details on the receipt are correct. Receipts should be kept for your records.
3. For products with an extended lifespan, ensure that you understand the details of the after-sale services and warrantees.
Consumer Rights as stated in Consumer Protection Law No. (24) 2006
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: original products, for food to mention expiry date & ingredients, others).
The Right to Choose:
Right to have multiple options of items and services in competitive prices and quality
The Right to Representation:
The right to express opinions to develop the goods, services, prices and availability
The Right to Be Informed:
Acquisition of knowledge and skill and awareness of consumer rights and responsibilities through continuous awareness programs
Retailer Service Provider Responsibilities
    Avoid misleading advertising and provide consumers accurate information about their rights.
    Policies regarding refunds, replacement, repair or rework for defective or damaged products and/or incomplete services should be clear.
    Goods and services should be presented with clear information in Arabic and any other language in addition to displaying prices in UAE currency (Dirham).
    All consumers should be provided with a dated detailed receipt.
    Sellers of used or repaired goods should label the product condition visibly and clearly.
    Offer products with valid guarantees and warrantees.
    Services providers have to guarantee service quality for a period of time. If services are not carried out with due care, the service must to be provided again for free or refunded.
    Ensure that employee’s knowledge is compatible with the range of products and services offered.

Shopping Advice:Before You Buy Goods Services
    Think carefully about what you are buying and how you are going to use it.
    Research retailers who hold the item / product that you are interested to buy;
    Evaluate the various options for price, quality and how they meet your needs;
    Shop around and get at least three quotes or prices. Not only do you get to compare value, but you also learn about different products, quality, after sales service and what suits you.
    Ask for advice if you´re not sure.
    Evaluate the various retailers to establish their consumer rights policy for returns, defects and refunds.
At The Sale
    Ask the retailer to explain the product, warrantees, guarantees, origin, storage instructions, expiry and the method of use whilst at the outlet.
    Do not be pressured into buying if you are not ready.
    When purchasing products you should be given the same price if paying by cash or credit card.
    When paying for goods ensure you collect and keep the receipt and check that the details are correct prior to leaving the outlet.
    Where applicable collect and check the details of any warranties and guarantees and ensure they are correct before leaving the outlet.
    Inspect the goods carefully at the retail outlet or immediately when arriving home .
    Make sure the receipt contains the retailer details and a detailed description of the goods purchased, date and price.
    Keep all invoices, warranties, receipts and invoices. You may need them later on !
After You Have Bought Goods And Services

    If the goods are damaged or not to your specification then do not accept them and call / visit the retailer as soon as possible.
    Please try and explain the issue to the retailer and where possible explain the defect in detail and ensure that you take all documentation ( original receipt and guarantees ) with you.
    Allow the retailer the opportunity to resolve the issue.
    If you are not satisfied with the retailer’s response please contact the consumer protection section at DeD.
    If you have been misled and the product you purchased is not what you asked for then please contact the retailer and allow them the opportunity to resolve the issue.
Steps to help you resolve your issue

Consumer Rights provides a service to help you to resolve your complaints with retailer / sellers or businesses in Dubai.

If we believe the retailer / seller has acted inappropriately, you can lodge a complaint with us and we will follow our normal complaint handling processes to try to resolve the complaint. It is in your interests to shop with retailers and service providers who display the ´we support consumer rights´ stickers as they are following the Federal Law and will be aware of their rights and responsibilities.
Consumer Complaint Checklist

You may find the Consumer Complaint Checklist useful for checking off what records you need to keep and for useful tips on getting you through each step. Please contact us if you just want to make an enquiry or you need any assistance.
These four steps may help you resolve your problem with a shop or business:
1, Know your rights and responsibilities Find out about your rights and responsibilities. Before you go back to the shop or business, it´s helpful to know where you stand legally. You may have more rights than you think or the shop or business may be within their rights. Knowing where you stand can help you argue your case.
2, Talk to the shop or business involved Sometimes a problem can be sorted out most effectively and efficiently just by sitting down together and talking things over. Keep a list of the phone calls you have made and the people you have spoken to.
3, Put it in writing If talking it over doesn´t work, put it in writing. This will be useful if you need to take further action.
4, Make a formal complaint if your problem still isn´t resolved after following steps 1,2 and 3, you can contact Consumer Rights to make a formal complaint.
Talk to the retailer / seller
In most cases an issue with a business or retailer / seller can be resolved pretty quickly just by explaining the situation and offering a mutually acceptable solution.
Tips on how to approach the situation:
    Talk it over with an appropriate person in the organisation, for example the owner, a local manager or the customer relations manager.
    Take note of who you speak to and when, in case you need to make a formal complaint later.
    State your problem calmly, saying who you were dealing with and explaining clearly what happened.
    Let them know what you want them to do, for example, replace the item, refund your money, or rectify the fault. Listen to what they have to say. They may be able to suggest a solution you hadn´t thought of that resolves the situation to your satisfaction.
    Give them a reasonable amount of time to fix the problem.
    Talk to them about when the problem may be fixed. Agree on an acceptable date and make sure you both understand what will happen by when.
    Give them your contact details so they can contact you if necessary.
    Be polite and treat them as a professional.
Putting it in writing
If you haven´t resolved your issue with a phone call or visit, follow-up with a letter
Provide details about the issue and your attempts to resolve it.
    Quote your reference, agreement or account number if you have one.
    Enclose a copy of any receipt, proof of purchase or any other relevant documents.
    Don´t send originals.
    Keep a copy of your letter.
    Check you have the correct name and address.
How It Works
Consumer Protection will contact each person involved in the dispute to try and find a satisfactory resolution. While the aim is to resolve most complaints within 30 days, this isn´t always possible if the issue is complicated or there is a lack of co-operation.
If the complaint isn't resolved
If a mutual agreement is not possible, Consumer Rights will advise both parties of their recommendation based on the Federal Law. Should the Buyer be acting outside of their rights as per the Federal Law, they will be advised to drop the case based on Federal Law Directives which will be explained to them in detail.

Should the buyer be acting within their rights as per the Federal Law the seller will be requested to resolve the dispute with clear details of why the case is valid. Should the seller / retailer not comply with the original recommendation from DED a company representative will be requested to visit DED to discuss the matter and to resolve the case.
What if the law has been broken ?
In this case, Consumer Protection will inform the shop or business and try to remedy the situation. Where appropriate legal action may be taken e.g. in cases of fraud or where retailers knowingly sell counterfeit goods. This will help to resolve your dispute and also help to prevent future problems for other consumers.

How to contact us

There are several ways in which you can register a complaint at DED, these include telephone, fax, email, website or a personal visit to DeD consumer protection division.

In all instances you will be expected to provide your name and contact details, full details of the retailer / service provider and a description of the case to be lodged. You should ensure that all supporting documents related to the case are with you at the time of lodging your complaint.

The Consumer Protection division will provide you with a unique case number which should be quoted when enquiring about the progress of your case which we will seek to resolve within 2 working days.
Call ´Ahlan Dubai´ +971 600 545555
Fax +971 4 450 3996
Email consumerrights@dubaided.gov.ae