Consumer protection law
The UAE has made keen efforts to ensure the consumer's confidence in the market and to create a fair relationship between consumers and businesses.
The Federal Law No. 24 of 2006 on Consumer Protection defines consumer's rights and obligations and outlines certain protection measures to fight monopoly, overpricing and fraudulent commercial activities against consumers.
According to the law, UAE consumers are granted the following rights:
- 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: origin of products, expiry date and ingredients of food items etc.)
- The Right to Choose: to have multiple options of items and services at competitive prices and quality
- The Right to Representation: to express opinions to develop the goods, services, prices and availability
- The Right to Be Informed: to acquire knowledge and skill and awareness of consumer rights and responsibilities through continuous awareness programmes.
Government charter on customer service
In 2011, H. H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, launched the Customer Charter for Federal Government Services. The Charter aims to ensure customer's happiness with federal government services, which are rendered with speed, professionalism, mutual respect and transparency.
Consumer rights protection
Ministry of Economy
Ministry of Economy has a Consumer Protection Department. Competencies of the department include:
- Supervising the execution of the general policy for consumer protection in cooperation with the authorities concerned
- Co-ordinating with the authorities concerned to confront unfair commercial practices which harm the consumer
- Co-ordinating and cooperating with the authorities concerned to spread awareness on the consumption of goods and services and to inform consumers of their rights and the means of claiming them
- Controlling prices and striving to limit their increase
- Seeking for the achievement of fair competition and combating monopoly
- Receiving and resolving consumer complaints or referring them to competent authorities
- Publishing the discussions and recommendations that contribute to increasing consumer awareness.
The ministry provides a hotline (600-522-225) to receive complaints related to infringements of the rights of the consumers.
In 2013, the ministry launched a section on their website for announcing the recall of damaged products. This was done to protect the rights of consumers, retailers and manufacturers as well as to maintain stability in the market.
Department of Economic Development (DED) in each emirate deals with consumer rights issues and implement plans and procedures related to consumer protection laws. It receives consumer complaints and raises the consumer awareness about their rights and duties.
Refer to DED in:
Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology (ESMA)
Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology (ESMA) is a federal entity that provides safety and quality measures for products, whether made in the UAE or brought in from abroad. The authority imposes mandatory standards on special products related to chemicals, gas and electrical devices. Its measures comply with common international standards adopted in the field of protection of consumers, markets and environment.
Abu Dhabi Quality and Conformity Council
Abu Dhabi Quality and Conformity Council is responsible for developing quality infrastructure and raising awareness on quality standards in the emirate of Abu Dhabi. The Council introduced a consumer safety services system, known as 'Manaa', which provides reliable information on any product and its compatibility with safety regulations.
The Council also launched a 'Quality Partner Program' to encourage businesses to conform to relevant quality, safety and technical standards and regulations through self-assessment and voluntary commitment schemes.
Abu Dhabi Agriculture & Food Safety Authority- ADAFSA
Abu Dhabi Agriculture & Food Safety Authority is responsible for food safety and agriculture in the emirate of Abu Dhabi; it is also responsible for animal wealth. It encourages and supports research in all areas of food safety and agriculture that leads to the development of specifications, standards and regulations that match the latest scientific knowledge in its areas of responsibility.
For more about consumer rights protection in the UAE, refer to the below links: