The UAE Ministry of Economy has warned retailers engaged in monopolistic prices and those selling substandard products that they face fines of up to Dh1 million under a revised version of the Consumer Protection Law.The ministry modified certain articles of the federal Consumer Protection Law in May this year by drafting tough penalties to deter monopolistic practices and price manipulation, a senior government official told Gulf News."The new version of the Consumer Protection Law is filling the gaps of the old law and [will] strengthen the penalty provisions and ensure enforcement," Dr Hashim Al Nuaimi, director of the Consumer Protection Department at the Ministry of Economy, said.The new amendments tackle issues relating to consumer rights, responsibilities and liabilities and specify penalties to be imposed for commercial malpractices, he added.
The UAE government has stepped up its campaign to strengthen consumer rights in recent years. Fifty- eight retailers have been fined since the beginning of Ramadan. Most of these violations were reported for price increases and manipulations, while the fines ranged from Dh5,000 to Dh100,000, Al Nuaimi added.However, he said that a Dh1 difference in prices between vendors can't be considered a manipulation but a reflection of market competition. Out of the 58 violators, 32 retailers are located in Ras Al Khaimah, 18 in Dubai, six in Abu Dhabi and two in Sharjah.
In case of repeating the same illegal practices, the fines will be doubled and a retailer may face the closure of his business. Unfair practices such as selling defective or substandard goods, overpricing, and a failure to adhere to standards will be strictly monitored. "It is necessary to evolve statutory measures to make producers and traders more accountable to consumers," he said.Al Nuaimi said the government now aims to step up its drive against violators and will not be lenient on those engaged in illegal practices."The penalties would vary from warning and fines to [the] closure of shops," he said.
Al Nuaimi said that the ministry has deployed almost 40 teams of inspectors to carry out the inspections in cooperation with UAE municipalities.These municipalities will also conduct daily inspections to monitor prices and compliance with pre-set prices and consumer rights. Al Nuaimi urged consumers to contact the ministry directly or any economic department in the country to file complaints against retailers flouting the rules."It is necessary as a consumer to know that your rights are secured by all the laws and regulations of the UAE," he said.Consumers can report price violations to the ministry by calling 600522225.
The Ministry received 84 complaints from consumers in the last four days. Most of these complaints were about price increases.
From / Gulf News