Dubai retailers face an up to AED10,000 fine if caught charging fees on credit card purchases during Ramadan, the emirate’s consumer protection agency warned Sunday.
Stores were told in June to stop imposing surcharges on credit card transactions as commission and will come under increased scrutiny during the holy month, when retail sales typically soar.
Credit card fees are sprung on the consumer at the point of payment and are purportedly used to cover the cost to the retailer of processing the transaction.
Spot checks are scheduled for supermarkets Carrefour and Union Cooperative Society as early as next week, the consumer protection arm of Dubai’s Department of Economic Development said.
Deputy CEO Mohammed Lootah, said the campaign was not an attempt to “make life difficult for retailers… [or] favour consumers”, but to ensure a healthy trading environment in Ramadan.
The monitoring campaign is the latest in a number of measures aimed at protecting consumers in the UAE from rising global food prices, amid a wave of political instability in the Arab world.
The Gulf state said in June it would fix the price of 400 basic food and household items across 70 retail outlets in the Gulf state. The scheme was backed by Carrefour, Lulu, and a number of cooperative societies that together hold 75 percent of the UAE’s retail market.
In the run up to Ramadan – which traditionally spurs a jump in food sales - stores have also been asked to slash the costs of basic commodities by 20-50 percent.
Retailers face legal action and fines of up to AED20,000 if they raise the price of essential items fixed by the economy ministry during the Holy month.
According to the World Bank, staple foodstuffs have seen the largest price increases this year since the 2007 food crisis. Key increases this year compared to 2010 include maize (up 74 percent), wheat (up 69 percent), soybeans (36 percent) and sugar (21 percent).
From / Arabian Business